On May 9, when Metro Vancouver residents cast their ballots in the B.C. general election, they need to know what each of the provincial parties will do to address congestion on our roads and overcrowding on public transit in Metro Vancouver. The fact is, transit service has struggled to keep up with the region’s fast growing economy and population, and traffic is not only frustrating for drivers – it’s affecting our health, environment and quality of life. There’s a lot at stake in this election, and the next provincial government has a critical role to play.
As mayors and community leaders responsible for setting transportation priorities for the region, the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation has embarked on a public outreach campaign so residents can learn about the 10-Year Vision, our comprehensive plan to improve transit, roads, and active transportation infrastructure. Through our #CureCongestion campaign, we’re asking political parties aspiring to form the next provincial government to tell voters how they plan to work with the Mayors’Council to complete the 10-Year Vision.
The Voters’ Guide includes responses to the #CureCongestion Questionnaire from the three political parties – the BC Green Party, the BC Liberal Party and the BC NDP – that had nominated candidates in the majority of seats in Metro Vancouver at the outset of the provincial election period (April 11). The Mayors’ Council has asked all three parties to commit to the following actions by Fall 2017:
- Follow through on the current government’s commitment to match the federal government, dollar for dollar, in its investment of $2.2 billion towards rapid transit improvements and the construction of Broadway Subway and Surrey LRT;
- Support essential upgrades to the existing SkyTrain network by cost-sharing additional rail cars, new storage and maintenance facilities and station upgrades, to address overcrowding and ready the system for expected future demand;
- Follow through on the existing provincial commitment to provide at least 1/3 of the capital costs towards replacing the aging Pattullo Bridge, and, on an urgent basis, assist in securing an additional federal share in the project;
- Develop a service improvement strategy with TransLink to deliver provincial financial support towards improving HandyDART service, in recognition of its critical role in providing access to the provincial healthcare system for residents who can’t always use conventional transit services;
- Commit to authorizing the Mayors’ Council’s request for a development cost charge for transit in the fall legislative session so it can be enacted by TransLink by 2020, as one of the regional revenue sources for Phase One of the 10-Year Vision, to keep the plan on track and fairly funded; and,
- Support the expansion of bus service region-wide, improvements to road conditions for drivers, and enhanced safety for cyclists and pedestrians by working with the Mayors’ Council to ensure that remaining operating and capital costs of the Vision are fully funded in a manner that is fair and equitable to Metro Vancouver taxpayers.