Identity Vancouver gets shanghaied:

by lewwaters


By Professor Robert Dean

Tap! Tap!

Scott H: Meeting will come to order! Welcome to the third inaugural meeting of Identity Vancouver. Tonight, we will plan the financing of the replacement of the I-5 bridge.

Tom M: How much will it cost?

Scott H: Nobody knows – we haven’t designed it yet.

Tom M: Oh, I see. Well, how much can we afford?

Scott H: Depends. If the feds were to pay for it all it would be free.

Tom M: The feds are broke. The President recently said we have to borrow just to pay Social Security. He sent Biden to China to line up our next trillions.

Tim L: Look, it doesn’t matter what it costs or where the money comes from as long as we get light rail. I already told Jaime Herrera Beutler that if she doesn’t get the feds to cough up we’ll build it anyway and take it out of the hides of the citizens with higher tolls.

Scott H: Agreed! Tom, those questions are irrelevant. The FTA has already decreed that $1.2 billion of the cost will come from the feds and $1 billion will come from the two states. The remainder, whatever that may be, will come from the local community.

Steve S: The remainder? How much might that be?

Scott H: They’re thinking … (indecipherable).

Steve S: What’s that?

Scott H: mumble, mumble.

Tim L: This will be on top of our required funding for roads, parks, sewers, etc. We have allowed for $770 million in our comprehensive plan for the next 20 years for all public works projects in the City. That includes the Waterfront. Actually we don’t have that either and our bonding capacity is maxed out. Anyhow, all these numbers – my land! Whatever the feds and states kick in we should match it. (Appendix D Table D-2)

Scott H: $1.4 billion.

Tim L: Sam Adams said he doesn’t want to kick in anything. I think we can pick up the full $1.4 million.

Scott H: $1.4 billion, with a B. And that’s just the principle on the bonds. Add interest of 5% over 30 years, financing costs to initiate the bonds, tolling costs, credit card fees, and cost overruns have to be paid by the local community (usually 30% but the design phase has already gone over budget by 100%) and you have total costs to the local community of closer to $8 billion.

Tim L: As long as it brings us jobs and prosperity we can pick up the $8 million.

Tim S: And government contracts.

Eli K: And public/private investment opportunities.

Ed L: And real estate investment opportunities when the undercapitalized building owners Downtown turn to short sales.

Eric H: And matching funds!

Tim L: And light rail.

Scott H: That’s $8 billion – with a B.

Steve S: How many jobs are we talking about for that $8 billion? It seems like we could invest that money in other ways and come up with quite a few jobs – local jobs at that.

Nancy B: We’re talking 1,900 jobs total per year. Most of them will go to the regular subs the prime contractor brings along. But, there will be mobile taco stands on site – although most of them will be coming up from San Diego. One good thing, the out of town subs will all be staying at the Hilton.

Tim L: We’ve offered them free rooms!

Steve H: There’s only one contractor in our region that could handle a megaproject like this. The others will come from lord knows where.

Nancy B: Scrap the jobs. We have other ideas for reducing the remainder that the local community will be stuck with.

Tim L: Thank goodness! I’m up to my neck in alligators.

Nancy B: For instance, we could utilize phased construction techniques.

Tom M: Phased construction techniques?

Nancy B: Build it in dribs and drabs. That will spread the financing out into the future. Of course, we’ll have to get the financiers to agree and pay a higher interest rate. It shouldn’t be a problem – the Chinese are patient and just looking for ways to buy into the US. Another idea, one that has already worked for San Francisco and New York, is to give the contract to a Chinese firm. They can build the bridge in Shanghai and ship it across the Pacific. That way they don’t have to pay prevailing wages and even if they did the prevailing wage in Shanghai is $0.70 an hour, $12 a day 7 days a week, no overtime.

-Flash forward to the year 2030-

Eric F: Eric Florip reporting from Downtown Chinatown at the corner of Eighth and Washington at the bottom of the light rail ramp off the bridge. Yes, it’s the Chinese New Year 2030 and the official grand opening of Chinatown and the first Max train is swooping down all lit up with fireworks.

Lou B: Thank you Eric, our readers can see the train on the web cam. But is that fireworks we hear, or gunfire?

Eric F: Not sure.

Lou B: Perhaps you should fill our readers in on how Chinatown in New Shanghai came about.

Eric F: Glad to Lou. Mayor Madore pulled off a real coup for this dead or dying ghost town left destitute after 17 years of construction on the CRC and light rail destroyed all commerce in what used to be known as Vancouver. Of course all the existing businesses failed in the first few years of construction. Then, one by one, the local tycoon investors dropped out and left a string of vacant and boarded up shells of buildings between Broadway and Washington from Sixth to McLoughlin. Madore hit on the idea of giving the city to the Chinese investor, Li Ka-shing, in exchange for forgiveness of the more than $10 billion in several bond sales that the Leavitt administration left us with. It was a win/win.

Lew W: I predicted this back in December 2011.

Lou B: Lew! What did I tell you about trolling on our on-line only newspaper? Please reserve your comments for the end of the article.

Lew W: Censorship!

Lou B: Matt!

6 Comments to “Identity Vancouver gets shanghaied:”

  1. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha ….. Dean you are becoming quite the writer! I know that this project isn’t funny —- its a joke!

  2. Anyone want to buy stocks in the ‘Lady Liberty’ Bridge or LR stocks for the I-205 Bridge for a loop to Downtown?? Thank You Professor Dean. I’m sure Lou has Matt on speed dial?

  3. I thought Lou has Matt & Libby on megaphone? I mean a telephone call just won’t DO!

    Professor, you are starting to become our own Daily Couve laughter. Thank you for your wonderful insights-for-living-proof…

  4. Nope Jeremy, my email of the pink slip threat was cc to them both.
    Ya know, my DH and I had a good laugh on this. Lou wants respect but he sure isn’t going to get it the way he acts. DH asked if I felt like a kid getting my hand slapped for speaking out? He also asked how well Lou knew me??

    Jeremy, love your last statement!

  5. Matt & Libby aren’t the most terrible thing over there. IN fact, its actually the older kids that are causing so much divisiveness? Maybe Scott might consider bringing his three sons on as publisher and Op-Ed editor??

  6. Absolute poetry. I bow to the superior scribe.

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