Value and Values

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When the news broke, most of the debate was about whether the deal had been mismanaged. But a team of sustainable community design experts at the University of British Columbia got out their calculators and pursued a different question. They started with the assumption that public money isn’t unlimited. They wondered how many citizens would get a real benefit from the finished bridge. And they folded in a goal that B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell espouses: reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

What other transportation infrastructure, they asked, could we instead have for $3.1 billion?

By the time Prof. Patrick Condon and researcher Kari Dow at the UBC Design Centre for Sustainability finished punching in the numbers and mapped their results, they produced a startling alternative vision. For the same money, concluded the team, the government could finance a 200-kilometre light rail network that would place a modern, European-style tram within a 10-minute walk for 80 per cent of all residents in Surrey, White Rock, Langley and the Scott Road district of Delta, while providing a rail connection from Surrey to the new Evergreen line and connecting Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge into the regional rail system.

Read the full article in the Tyee. Thanks to Kerstin for the reference.

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