Word that Conservative MP John Duncan has given the green light for federal funding to build fabled McKenzie Interchange is welcome news for motorists on the West Shore who face the daily delay during their rush-hour commutes.
The provincial government has jumped on board as well, to the tune of $52.35 million for the Highway 1/Admirals Road/McKenzie Avenue project, pegged at a total cost of $85 million.
To say this is long overdue is not a stretch, since it was considered a priority item by the government of the day back in the late 1990s, long before the population on the West Shore began to explode.
Based on that growth, news that Duncan’s pre-election gift bag of a maximum of $32,647,500 also included enough to extend the Westshore Parkway in Langford to include 3.5 kilometres of a two-lane road between Highway 1 and Highway 14 (Sooke Road) should be enough to put a smile on the most grizzled grid-locked face, whether it’s blatant vote-buying or not.
In hindsight, the improvements are much more critical to easing the flow of traffic in the Capital Region than that excessive homage to government overspending, the McTavish Interchange, could ever hope to be. That combination of boondoggle and overkill probably played a critical role in the Waterloo-like defeat of long-time Saanich-Gulf Islands MP Gary Lunn, who lost his seat in the 2011 federal election to Green Party leader Elizabeth May.
It’s nice to see that both levels of government, despite being so poorly represented on Vancouver Island in the House of Commons and the B.C. Legislature, do occasionally get it right, even if it’s arguably a case of election engineering.
It’s interesting to note that Langford Mayor Stew Young’s name was the only one on the official pre-event news release for the official announcement on Wednesday.
Based on the way Duncan has been throwing infrastructure cash around – he was in Langford last week trumpeting a First Nations affordable housing project and came up with funding for more seats at Westhills Stadium in 2013 – it’s clear at least Young has managed to get his ear.
Whatever your party of preference or however you decide to vote, everyone benefits when all levels of government come together to fund these type of community infrastructure projects, regardless of one’s political stripe.
You may want to remind yourself of that when you’re gritting your teeth behind the wheel while they get the interchange built.