Thursday, September 20, 2007

Polak tries to get to the bottom of the NDP Gateway stance

Langley MLA Mary Polak, having followed the NDP dithering on Gateway for two years now, has issued a press release calling on the party to make their stance clear:
Constituents deserve to know whether Carole James and her MLAs in the Lower Mainland stand behind their party’s opposition to the Gateway Program or whether they’ll speak up for residents who are fed up with sitting in traffic, says BC Liberal MLA Mary Polak.

The NDP party's provincial council recently endorsed a resolution to oppose the Gateway Program, but Carole James and her caucus still refuse to come clean on whether they agree with their party’s call to scrap Gateway and the twinning of the Port Mann.

"South Fraser residents are tired of wasting hours waiting in traffic, away from their homes and families. The projects included in the Gateway Program, including twinning the Port Mann Bridge, are vital to reducing that congestion, and keeping people moving," said Polak, MLA for Langley. "Carole James needs to be honest with B.C. taxpayers. Her party has clearly said they oppose Gateway. Does she feel the same way and do her MLAs representing people living in Surrey feel the same way?"

The Gateway Program would improve the movement of both people and goods through the Lower Mainland, improving travel times across the Fraser River during peak periods and better-connecting key economic gateways such as airports, ports, railways and border crossings.

The Pitt River Bridge and North Fraser Perimeter Road component will eliminate bottlenecks that have seen vehicle volume grow from 27,0000 to 88,000 between 1985 and 2007. The South Fraser Perimeter Road component will remove trucks from Highway 17, and the Port Mann/Highway 1 component will add HOV and transit lanes, provide for future rapid transit and include cycling improvements.

"I challenge Carole James and the NDP MLAs in Surrey to finally speak up for their constituents, refute their party’s position and announce their full support for the Gateway Program," said Polak. "There’s no reason people should be punished for living south of the Fraser River. The Gateway Program is a balanced plan that will get traffic moving and also improve mass transit by seeing buses cross the Port Mann Bridge for the first time in 20 years. Carole James and NDP MLAs have had well over a year-and-a-half since the Gateway Program was officially announced to make up their minds. It’s time to get off the fence and support better transportation for residents here."

Right on, Mary!

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