And Over To You Mr. Cow – TransLink’s fiscal Realities

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One of the RftV’s many friends, Haveacow is a Canadian transportation specialist. He uses the Avatar Haveacow because in the arcane world of Canadian and American public transportation, speaking the truth may find you out of a job.

An American transportation Engineer who has helped Zwei in the past, found this out when the long arms of SNC Lavalin and Bombardier caused him much worry due to a not to pleasant factoid about our locally venerated SkyTrain light-metro system.

TransLink is seldom honest with the public, but with the TransLink’s new CEO taking to the stump, drumming up support for new taxes for TransLink one can believe that TransLink is in dangerous economic peril.

This, of course , is not new and has been long predicted by experts outside the metro Vancouver/TransLink bubble.

Gerald fox had a terse comment about financial ills in his 2008 critique of the Evergreen Line and stated:

But, eventually, Vancouver will need to adopt lower-cost LRT in its lesser corridors, or else limit the extent of its rail system. And that seems to make some TransLink people very nervous.

TransLink is nervous and Mr. Cow gives detailed insight at TransLink’s financial ills in a comment in the previous post. Insight that the Hive or the mainstream media do not give, nor care to give.

 

A subsidy of $157.7 in 1992, translates to $275 million in today's money.

A subsidy of $157.6 million in 1992, translates to $275 million in today’s money.

When you have a regional transit agency like Translink it’s very difficult to not use taxation as a form of operating funding. When I refer to taxation, I mean taxes the transit agency itself can levy against taxpayers. I knew a long time ago that agencies that use this revenue or somewhat dubious private investment funds filled with taxpayer funding to fund not just operating budgets but a portion of future capital budgets as well, are headed for great troubles unless, they are very, very careful. North America is full of regional transit agencies that have done this since the 1960’s and been burned financially, some are still paying for it (SEPTA, MBTA, TriMet, MPAT and PATCO come to mind).

When I saw that a not to small amount of funding from Translink itself was required to fund Stage 1, 2 and 3 of their 10 year capital works funding plan (2018-2028), I started to worry for Translink. This is the current 10 year plan that has several high order projects like, the phase 1 of the Millennium Line extension to Arbutus, the original SNG LRT Line, which were all part of stage 2 of the plan. Projects like phase 2 of the Millennium Line extension to UBC and the LRT extension from Surrey to Langley (which was actually affordable), which were funded in stage 3 of the 10 year plan.

However the most important parts were the hundreds of smaller, state of good repair and operational improvements in all 3 stages of the plan. Many of those were highly dependant on Translink’s funding. Many of these desperately needed items can’t happen without the portion of funding from Translink’s coffers. As early as the implementation of stage 1 of the 10 year plan, Translink’s own financial documents questioned if the planned funding from Translink for stages 1-3 would be enough (about $725 million). These comments were usually in the “financial risk portions” of the documents, at the end of the financial documents. The parts after they would show how great their financing ability was and how “on track” they were going towards their financing goals. These comments are essentially, under the category of “look guys and gals we’re just covering our buts here”. The public and many politicians have been conditioned over the years to ignore these sections but they all said the same thing essentially, “we really need a lot more funding in the future than we currently have but we are ok for now. However, one catastrophe and everything changes, forever”. Without a lot of these little projects being completed many of the big ones become impossible.

The Catastrophe Begins

First, a fool (the current Mayor of Surrey), believed he could fund a 16km long Skytrain line with the same amount of funding for 11 km of surface LRT, a yard and its LRV’s. He didn’t understand that just the concete alone for a 16km long, above grade Skytrain line was going to cost almost as much as the entire LRT Line over the original 11 km distance in phase 1 of the LRT plan. The new Skytrain extension price didn’t include new trains where as the LRT price did. This cost was added into a Skytrain vehicle order which was now costing around $727 million. The final cost of that contract has gone up, believed to be now around $800 million simply due to the length of the contract being extended multiple times let alone inflationary costs and not immediately nailing the cost down at the time of it’s announcement. This is a common error made by agencies. Other cost increases have and will occur because Bombardier was bought out by Alstom

This mayor didn’t realize that, if this line became a Skytrain line a massive new operations and maintenance yard (OMC#5) would be needed, this alone will add $350 – $600 million in cost to the line, depending on the yard’s capacity and capabilities.

He also didn’t know that surface LRT along the highway median through certain portions of the Surrey to Langley LRT line (phase 2) was cheaper because an above grade Skytrain line running at the north side of the highway alignment would mean, building a concrete viaduct through 3 to 4 km’s of wet unstable soil as well as bog and swamp.

There’s a few more cost surprises coming and it all depends on the choices made by Translink in the extension’s final design. So 2 LRT lines costing a combined $3.4-$3.5 Billion covered by 2 different stages of the 10 year plan as well as everything 27 km’s of LRT operations would need is replaced with, 16 km of Skytrain, costing $3.95 Billion and rising, not including the trains or financial risk costs, with the final price rising because none of these costs have been finalised yet.

This forced the Province to take over the project because Translink could no longer afford its portion of the costs. The original LRT money now doesn’t even cover the 7 km long first stage, in the originally 2 stage funding plan. Then the plan became a single stage plan, all 16 km to be built at once, all having to be covered by the provincial government. This maneuver alone will raise the cost of the line not to mention, the extra time costs Translink is now forcing on the project to modify its entire 10 year funding plan. Remember Covid 19 hadn’t hit yet and a reworking of the 10 year funding plan was already needed by late 2019. This means costs for materials that were to be ordered, based in 2021-2023 costs now have to be all budgeted at costs based in 2024 and later, adding at the least, 2 years of increasing inflationary cost to this project, let alone any other inflationary costs. That’s why I know the line cost will continue to go up. The entire $3.95 Billion cost for the Surrey to Langley extension is based in ordering construction materials based on prices for 2021, 2022 and 2023 levels. The line’s new cost benefit analysis being done by the provincial government won’t be complete until late 2022 at the earliest. Then they have to finalize cost estimates. Which aren’t truly, actually known until the tendering process is complete.

Then Covid 19 hit!

Yes the Fed’s bailed out Translink on its operating funding from 2020 through part of 2022 but that doesn’t cover capital costs. Funding that was supposed to go into the existing 10 year plan from their own taxation was extremely degraded because of Covid 19 costing not only the total missing amount of funding for capital project costs versus pre Covid levels but the future potential interest, that holding some of that cash would have provided towards Translink’s portion for stage 3, 10 year plan funding. The federal government is spending $750 Million this year in operating funding relief (operating funding only) to bail out transit agencies but that’s for all Canada not just Vancouver. This continues to put a bigger and bigger hole in capital funding until Translink’s tax levies return to pre Covid levels, sometime between 2024-2028. This may never happen if electric vehicles take hold in a big way because they (Translink) rely on a lot of gas taxes for their funding. Hence the call for new funding sources from Translink’s CEO.

Comments

15 Responses to “And Over To You Mr. Cow – TransLink’s fiscal Realities”
  1. Bill Burgess says:

    Mr Cow, how would you compare Translink’s money woes with those of transit agencies in other cities?

    Is this a moment for all supporters of transit to campaign for MORE funding of transit everywhere, to better recover from COVID and to counter the illusion that electric cars are a real alternative in terms of both transportation services and ecological sustainability?

  2. Haveacow says:

    Translink is set up as a super-regional transit agency (an agency with geographic responsibilities beyond most of the area’s major commuting limits) combined with taxation power plus, it has a few other responsibilities including some road and road-bridge infrastructure. This is not a standard regional, semi-regional or municipal transit agency limited to strict municipal boarders, that only deals with transit and has no other means of cash generation other than fares and commercial sources. These types of super-regional agencies are a completely different animal than standard North American transit agencies. These super-regional transit agenies have historically had continuous funding issues for many, political, operational and capital reasons far too numerous to mention here.

    The subject of creating area wide, super-regional transit agencies, their operations, route and fare structure, funding, political structure and legal issues was the subject of my undergrad thesis. The main issue with them historically is the political and operational headaches created by the limiting of local power structures. Any person who doesn’t like any big giant government agency that, they feel they have little direct local control over, will never see it as positive, regardless how effective the agency is at doing its job.

    People in general, are ok with a super-regional transit agency as long as, its accessible as any small local government and can be controlled just as easily. It must also be super responsive as any small local municipal transit agency is supposed to be, towards the individual transit user/voter. The problem is that, any super-regional transit agency has to be far more powerful than any local, county or even regional government to be able to supersede and prioritize the huge number of local issues it can be facing. Thus, it can’t be very responsive to the many local issues and by its nature isn’t accessible to local voters and their perceived desire for local control. Throw in the ability to raise its own tax revenue similar to a local/regional government and you instantly have more resentment if said agency does anything that one group of locals dislikes. As the population increases in the super-regional transit agency service area, there is also a greater likeliness that said agency, will do something that one single group will dislike.

    @Bill Burgess, to now answer your question. All super-regional transit agencies, especially ones with the ability to levy and collect their own taxes, have bigger money woes than more traditional transit agencies by design. It’s a political check on the ability to tax people directly but it hinders the agency’s usefulness and operational capabilities.

    Due to the simple fact that all the super-regional transit agencies operating in North America are in my humble opinion, moderately to massively underfunded, Translink included (definitely moderately) Especially, compared to most but not all conventional transit agencies and unfortunately, they always will be underfunded. Mainly simply because the large population and geographic size of the super-regional transit agency’s service area or its required to do far too many things, with its funding. Let me explain why, I know Zwei’s head is probably exploding from this.

    In traditional new frontier type societies like, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand, there is a single governing mathematical relationship curve, regarding population growth and the cost to service that growth. Unfortunately, I simply can’t remember the official name of that curve. But it is a mostly geometric/parabolic type curve that states a simple but stunning premise.

    Given the standard development types of typical, Canadian and American cities or continuous city regions, their physical size and geography, their nature, their economies and the costs of servicing them, that once a city or continuous city region reaches a population of roughly 800,000, the cost to service a 1% of population growth within a city or city region, leads to an increase in servicing costs to that city or city region of greater than 1%. When the population is below 600,000 a 1% growth in population will lead to an increase of service costs of less than 1%. Within the population range of 600,000 to 800,000 there is a roughly 1 to 1 ratio between the percentage of population growth and the percentage increase in service costs. It’s amazing how much this basic relationship holds true in not just the provision of transit service, but many other facets of city services as well.

    Simply, if Translink’s service area population grows by 1% given its current population of about 2,500,000 (using my copy of the curve), a roughly 1.8% increase in spending will be needed to service it. Because Vancouver is now in the upper part of this geometric curve, (its growth isn’t linear, it’s geometric), as the population of Vancouver’s region gets greater and greater, funding will have to grow geometrically not linearly. This is difficult enough under normal circumstances, with standard transit agencies but include a super-regional transit agency that has politically unpopular taxation issues on top of this, add a few other operational and governance issues, wow! Since Translink’s taxation levels can’t grow geometrically something has to give.

    When it comes to Translink’s choice of rail rapid transit, Zwei’s quote from Gerald Fox is very true, “But, eventually, Vancouver will need to adopt lower-cost LRT in its lesser corridors, or else limit the extent of its rail system”. This was the primary reason Ottawa adopted LRT instead of a Skytrain type Light-Metro system. When you are using an expensive and difficult to service Light-Metro system with stops every 1 to 1.5km on average, like the Skytrain, trying to operate it over regional distances, something it wasn’t really designed to do (instead of downtown-suburb, or suburb to suburb), each increase in linear km’s requires more and more expensive operating and capital resources to maintain it. A cheaper to operate, more robust rail rapid transit option is needed, especially over longer regional distances. DMU’s, EMU’s, Tram-Trains, or even just standard surface LRT or real BRT (not what Translink calls BRT) is easier to maintain, and provides a more affordable scalable service, especially at the lower end.

    Zwei replies: Not exploded, learning!

    We must remember that TransLink was created as a bribe to then GVRD Czar, George Puil, to accept the ART Millennium Line, being forced onto the region by the then NDP government. The sweetener was that the provincial government would pay 2 thirds the cost of SkyTrain only construction, west of Commercial Dr.

    This is the genesis of the Broadway subway as the cost for the subway was then $150 million/km and the CoV, put the cost of LRT at $50 million/km, thus the cost would be the same for regional taxpayers, with the province picking up 2/3rds of the cost of a subway.

    George Puil, like most politicians, thought he was a transit expert and through his utter and complete ineptitude caused a months long bus strike, which ultimately lead to his defeat at the next election.

  3. The present cost sharing is 40/40/20 ( 20% is the region share )
    If the BC govt takes over this 20% share than they might as well take over all of TransLink.
    The Mayors Council does all its bussiness in closed meetings and I am sure the BC govt wants to get 20% of capital from the region.

  4. zweisystem says:

    As mentioned in my comment, TransLink was a politcal creation to secure ART construction on what is now called the millennium Line, it also was designed to please all people with all things, the roads lobby, the cycle, lobby, transit users and alike. Today, TransLink has become a ponderous and largely ineffective bureaucracy, so much so, it is hard to find any politician how actually has a kind word about this ponderous bureaucracy.

    Today, TransLink is controlled by the Vancouver/Surrey/Burnaby triumvirate and most major expenditures are happening in those cities, with the rest getting crumbs. Afraid to displease regional politicos and especially afraid of upsetting Victoria, TransLink does what it is told, which in the end costs a lot of money which the very same politicians are reluctant to increase taxes for.

  5. Bill Burgess says:

    Mr Cow, I think you are mixing up the costs associated with ‘super-regional’ transit agencies with the cost of providing transit at those geographic scales (whether there is a super-regional agency or not).

    In general, Translink’s cost structure is not due to being a ‘super-regional’ agency. It is because as the size of the service region increases population density declines, and with a decline in population density comes an increasing average cost of providing transit to all those people. There are many other factors and local conditions that come into play, but in North America it is metroplitan ‘sprawl’ that mainly increases average costs, not city size.

    I think the directors of Translink should be directly elected (like school board members) for greater transparcency/accountability, rather than being appointed and indirectly elected.

    But the point here is the widely-accepted norm that the geographic scale of planning and administration of service provision should match the geographic scale of the services provided. Transit is inevitably a metropolitan service. So-called local control of transit really means that the ‘selfish’ interests of a particular munipality/local area will trump the common interests of the whole metropolitan population. The last thing we want is a proliferation of small, municipal-scale transit agencies.

    However, Translink’s governance does not overcome municipal/lower scale differences, and strategic decisions end up in hands of the provincial government and their unspecialized expertice in transit issues.

    Translink does not have its own taxation powers. It only has those funding tools granted by the provincial government, i.e., the latter indirectly controll even the decisions they do not directly make.

    My question was whether Translink is similar or different to other transit agencies in terms of the funding crisis you identified. This blog tends to attribute every problem in Vancouver to the modal choice of Skytrain. But if other cites have comparable funding problems I think we can see that the ‘Skytrain issue’ is actually very secondary.

  6. zweisystem says:

    I believe TransLink does have taxing powers, through the mayors council.

    Also, Mr. B’s steadfast support of SkyTrain is telling. When one builds and operates a transit system that cost easily three times more than other and just as effective light rail on routes where over 80% of the ridership first take a bus, bound to be extremely expensive to operate and maintain.

    No one has copied Vancouver exclusive use of light metro and no one is buying MALM today and in fact no one has bought the damned thing in over 15 years! That should tell everyone that MALM and light metro tend to be pigs.

    I also put to Mr.B that Haveacow knows a lot more about transit, transit finances and transit application than you. In fact what he has said has been said many times before by real transit/transportation experts who live outside the metro Vancouver bubble.

  7. Major Hoople says:

    Again more comedy from Vancouver, it is a distraction from events in the Ukraine. Vancouver schadenfreude.

    It has become evident that Vancouver’s transit problem is a light metro problem and all the fallout from building strictly with one mode.

    In Europe, Zweisystem or TramTrain have proven their worth and we see several missed opportunities in your part of the world for this sort of system.

    From what we can deduce, your big problem is overcoming your aversion to the tram and until that happens, transit woes, taxing woes and auto use will continue.

    One last comment. There is a quote that puzzles us; “So-called local control of transit really means that the ‘selfish’ interests of a particular municipality/local area will trump the common interests of the whole metropolitan population. The last thing we want is a proliferation of small, municipal-scale transit agencies.”

    But is this not what is happening today in metro Vancouver? Your subway on a route with very little customer demand , by our standards and even less customer demand for the Langley line? Your big cities are getting big prestigious transit projects, while your suburbs, which need good transit, get little or nothing

  8. Haveacow says:

    All super-regional have very large service areas in the North America, that’s why they don’t work well because they require far more funding than anyone in government will ever be willing to provide. You need to get smaller areas of control, more professional and possibly some coordinating agencies.

  9. Bill Burgess says:

    Mr. Zwei, the Mayors Council has no separate/independent taxation power. Translink receives a share of property taxes collected, but property taxes are ultimately controlled by the Provincial government. ‘Near-taxes’ require provincial approval – remember when the NDP government refused to allow the proposed $75 vehicle levy?

    Mr. Hoople, I noted that, “Translink’s governance does not overcome municipal/lower scale differences, and strategic decisions end up in hands of the provincial government and their unspecialized expertice in transit issues.”

    Mr. Cow, I suspect you are referring to the above point – that upper level governments consider ‘super-regional’ agencies (potential) rivals and tend to under-fund them. I thought your original point was that such agencies have funding problems because they service too many people (cities that are large). I think it is more because their coverage extends to low-density suburbs whose cost of service provision is high.

    Again, the point again is that supporters of transit need to explain the need for better funding for transit everywhere, rather than fixating on secondary issues like a particular transit technology (Skytrain) or a particular transit agency (Translink).

    Zwei replies: it is called the gas tax, which all people in the TransLink catchment area must pay. The transit tax is about 15 cents more than other locals.

  10. Haveacow says:

    Transit has always had a hard time of it simply because two basic issues, more than a dozen local politicians from multiple cities have said the same two points to me over the years and I just don’t see it changing anytime soon, especially, with our nation wide local government slide towards the conservative that is occurring. In public they talk a good game, when you have them as staff talking to council and the public isn’t around, the conversation is very different.

    It starts like this, you ask a major local politician if he/she wants more funding for transit, the answer is usually something like this,”I always want to provide transit with more support but 80% of the public drives and any increase in transit spending means less money for roads as well as, when you ask the majority of voters, they want transit to pay for itself”. I would then ask about the massive amount of funding subsidies roads and car drivers get and the answer is always something like, “those same people don’t care if roads don’t pay for themselves because they don’t want to pay more to drive and I want to get elected again”, end of conversation.

    The MBTA, (The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority) was created in 1964, it serves about 3.8 million people in a 3400 sq. km’s region around Boston, it has a service area almost twice as large as Translink’s. Originally a suburban housing tax on homes in the region was to provide up to 45% of this agency’s funding, This desperately needed tax has never been passed by the Massachusetts State government, it has also never been replaced with any other funding either. This agency has been constantly going from budget crisis to budget crisis over the years. The only thing that keeps it going is that Boston area commuters, pay upwards of 58% of their operating budget through fares, this is one of the highest fare return rates in the US, which averages below 50%.

  11. Major Hoople says:

    Transportation mode is very important and not a secondary issue.

    The benefits of rail are well known and if your government refuses to accept this that they may face an uncertain future like Mr. Putin.

    In Germany, there was a great excitement about subways in the the 1960’s and 70’s. Tram lines were abandoned, even entire systems were sold for scrap. Then came the mid life refurbishments in the 80’s and 90’s and woe to the transit authorities, thee was not the funds to accomplish this.

    It is the same with your SkyTrain, no? Lots of excitement but huge costs and your taxpayers, like good German taxpayers, do not like parting with their dollars or Euro’s.

    What also made planners worry was that the subways did not attract much many new customers (in Germany, transit users are considered customers) and for the great expense of the subway was not the payback in new customers.

    Now subways are still being built, Karlsruhe is soon to open theirs, but the traffic was already there before the subway was built. The former tram route was carrying over 30,000 per hour each way in the peak hours.

    The backbone of public transport in Germany is the tram, which makes me ask the question; “Why keep building with a very expensive light metro that has inferior operating standards than the tram?” I have been told that Vancouver’s streets are paved with gold, i don’t believe it, but it seems to be true by your wasting money on SkyTrain.

  12. Haveacow says:

    The 3.6 km long ,Karlsruhe Tram-Train Tunnel has 7 stations, 6 stations with 2 side platforms and 1 station with 2 platforms but a 3rd dead end track to send trains back to the south, opened December 12, 2021. Each platform is 100m long, with 85m at medium platform floor height and 15m (located at the front end of each platform) at the standard but higher, European mainline railway station platform height. A 5m long ramp separates the two height differences. Only the Stadtbahnen routes, operated by AVG, the Albanof Valley Regional Railway Operating Authority (denoted by an S and then a route number, S4 for example) and 2 of the city’s surface Light Rail/ tram routes, operated by VBK, the city’s transit authority (denoted by just a number, route “1” for example)

    The 1.4 km long car tunnel portion of the project is expected to open in the summer and will be credited by removing a 8 lane, semi-expressway, section of arterial road from the core of the city. Transforming this section of the east-west oriented, Kriegstrasse (War Street or Road) with a local vehicle only, 2 lane right of way (with ample curb vehicle parking space) bike lanes, wider sidewalks and a 3 stop, grass surfaced reserved LRT/Tram only corridor. Currently routes tram routes 4 and 5 use it. Most, about 86%, according to VBK, of the existing Karlsruhe LRT/Tram network operates on reserved rights of way with, at the least 75% of the network, according to VBK anyway, having a minimum distance of 350 metres (just short of 1/4 of a mile) between tram stops. 400m (1/4 of a mile), is the North American minimum standard distance, between stations used in North American LRT line designs. The 1.4 km car and truck tunnel essentially provided a 1.4 km long physical pedestrian and bicycle connection between the city’s central core and the busy neighborhood or area around the Karlsruhe Hautbannof (Central Railway Station). Two areas of the city which had been essentially cutoff from each other by Kaiserstrasse’s 8 to 10 lanes. There by effectively enlarging and definitely improving the downtown core of the city, (IMHO) .

    Also, a 2 km long extension to tram line 2, opened the same day. The first extension to the city’s LRT/Tram network in 15 years. Sine the 1990’s the vast majority of rail line extensions have been for the regional S-Bahn or Stadtbahnen service, that Karlsruhe had become so famous for.

    At each end of the “T” shaped tunnel, vastly improved rail only, physically segregated, grass surfaced rail rights of way have been built. These rights of ways have upgraded on-street median stops. The tunnel project had 4 of these surface stations/stops. Each of these station/stops is exactly like a tunnel station in terms of length (100m) and facilities (a platform with 2 different heights). One of those surface stations, Muhlburger Tor, has a 3rd single platform and 3rd track which allows AVG S-Bahn and VBK tram routes to traveling to the north-west portions of both networks to by pass the signalled intersection of Kaiserstrasse (King or Emperor Street) and Muhlburger Tor (Muhlburger Gate).

    The cost of the Combined Tunnel Solution or “Kombilosung” project has continually gone up in cost and is at a final tally of €1.481 Billion (Euros). Nearly double its original €850 Million cost. Mainly due to extreme legal costs, including extensive European Court of Appeal costs after the project had broke ground, engineering difficulties due to unknown soil conditions, on top of a huge amount of project scope creep.

    The upgraded surface rights of ways and there enormous stations, including Muhlburger Tor, added 800m of very expensive physical segregated surface rail right of way to 800m of already physically segregated rail rights of way. Simply adding grass an extra long platforms, including a 3rd one at Muhlburger Tor added great amounts to the the tunnel cost. At both the east and west ends of the “T” roughed in tunnel space was added so the tunnel could be extended to both the north-east and north-west.

    Two more exits, for a total of three were added into the car tunnel, which allow drivers to access a couplet of 2 north-south one way roads into downtown as well as an exit leading directly to the parking structure of the Ettlinger Tor Shopping Mall. Although the shopping mall exit was in the original design it was greatly upgraded. The east-west road tunnel right of way was sandwiched between the original road surface and new reserved rail line and the north south portion of the “T” shaped LRT Tunnel. Originally, it was to go under the rail tunnel but the depth, made tunnel exits to the surface too expensive. However the final solution added big cost to the LRT tunnel. The residents of downtown Karlsruhe wanted the vehicle tunnel to force drivers to bypass downtown completely not to allow access via ramps towards the core of the city.

  13. Haveacow says:

    Rail mode is very critical especially if you have built a Gadet-Bahn, like Skytrain. The residents and municipal leaders in Sao Paulo are extremely upset and stressed with a building monorail line designed, built and operated by Bombardier. This is not a short airport or area specific people mover. The Sao Paulo Metro Line #15 is 14 km long and has 13 km more still under construction. Imagine the operator, builder and car provider of your unfinished 27 km monorail line suddenly being sold off to another builder. 19 more trainsets are being ordered so that the schedule can be maintained. This is needed due to ongoing higher than expected maintenance requirements. All this because parts from the monorail wheels and tires burst and dropped onto the road below and the system designed to keep the trains moving if one or multiple tires go flat was the cause. The monorail system (line 15 of the Sao Paulo Metro) was out of service for 3 months.

  14. zweisystem says:

    I wonder by how much the Broadway subway cost, will escalate with the current inflation numbers and the war in the Ukraine. As Mr. cow has said previously, cement and specialty steel is increasing 2 to 3 times that of the rate of inflation. A news item from a Seattle TV stations was stating that the cost of various large construction projects has gone up significantly in the past 3 weeks, with many being scaled back.

  15. Haveacow says:

    If the prices for construction materials were preset in the original contract then they are set in stone and will be ok but wow, look out for stage 2 construction costs to UBC.

    Zwei replies: This poses a question, if the cost go up and the price is set in stone, what would happen if the contractor just walks away? This has already happened recently with metro Vancouver.

    https://canada.constructconnect.com/joc/news/infrastructure/2021/10/metro-vancouver-contractor-abandoned-1b-wastewater-project

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