Falcon announced late Friday that the province could not reach a deal with a private consortium that was going to build the new 10-lane bridge - with a rapidly expanding budget that jumped from $1.5 billion to $3 billion in just eight months.
“We would've liked to have gotten to an agreement," said Falcon. "We had a memorandum of agreement, but ultimately we were not able to come to closing terms, and that's just life."
Falcon claims that any cost overruns or construction delays will be the responsibility of Peter Kiewit and Sons and Flat-Iron Constructors Canada, the two contractors.
But the news has drawn fire from both the NDP and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
"If you can't get financing for this kind of a project, where there's a guaranteed source of revenue over a lengthy period of time, what project can you get financing for?" said NDP Finance critic Bruce Ralston. "So we're back to government financing, but we've been delayed for years by this minister's stubborn insistence on doing it a different way, which has completely failed."
Canadian Taxpayers Federation BC director Maureen Bader calls the government's approach "too risky."
"If it's too risky for a private sector company then it's also too risky for the taxpayers," said "So I think now is not the time to be going forward with these projects — to increase the debt even more than what we are already looking at. "
After an initial all private deal also fell through, BC announced it was going to provide one-third of the financing while a group of private developers was slated to provide the remaining two-thirds.