Metro Vancouver needs provincial decisions quickly on transit funding

The Prime Minister’s announcement in Montreal today show this region is falling behind in race for federal transit funding

June 15, 2017

The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation today called on the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia to confirm a new government quickly, so that the Province of B.C. can get to work on the region’s transit and transportation priorities.

“Today, the Prime Minister announced a $1.2 billion federal investment in Montreal’s new LRT “REM” project,” said Mayors’ Council Chair, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Vancouver is falling behind other cities to secure much needed federal funding for our 10-Year Vision. Metro commuters are waiting for a new BC government to work with Mayors to move forward on major transit projects as quickly as possible. Mayors are ready to go, but we need a new provincial government to take action on landing federal investment for transit.”

Last month, the Mayors’ Council released a 5-point, 90-Day Action Plan to #CureCongestion that called on all parties to confirm a new provincial government that is ready to make quick decisions over the summer and fall to formally fund the next phase of the 10-Year Vision for Metro Vancouver Transit and Transportation. Fast provincial action is needed to avoid costly project delays, and to avoid B.C. falling behind other cities for federal transit funding.

“We have transit projects ready to go for federal announcements in Metro Vancouver, including South of Fraser LRT, the Broadway subway and critical upgrades to the existing, overcrowded SkyTrain network,” said Mayors’ Council Vice-Chair, Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner. “The sooner a new government is in place, the sooner we can sit down with them to finalize the remaining provincial and regional funding needed to make these projects a reality. My residents have waited long enough for action to cut congestion and improve transit.”

During the election, the Mayors’ Council heard agreement from all parties that the next government must make quick, major investments in Metro Vancouver’s transit system.

ABOUT THE 90-DAY ACTION PLAN TO #CURECONGESTION

The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation and the TransLink Board of Directors calls on all provincial parties, and all Metro Vancouver MLAs, to commit to:

  1. Formally approve one-third provincial funding for the full scope of the Pattullo Bridge Replacement Project, and a toll revenue replacement agreement, by July, to avoid a bridge closure in 2023.
  2. Confirm a 40% provincial funding share by September to the remaining transit and transportation projects in the 10-Year Vision, including $2.2 billion to match federal funding for rapid transit to put B.C. first in line for federal transit funding for the South of Fraser LRT and Broadway subway, $360 million to the SkyTrain Upgrade Project, to avoid future overcrowding of our existing rapid transit network, and support for new buses, and major roads, walking and cycling infrastructure.
  3. Develop a fair regional funding strategy with the Mayors’ Council by September, to keep Phase Two Plan of the 10-Year Vision on track and avoid costly delays.
  4. Eliminate the referendum requirement for Metro Vancouver transportation projects by September, and instead use existing public consultation and engagement mechanisms to establish and confirm public support.
  5. Schedule the authorization of a new development levy for transportation, approved by the Mayors’ Council in November, 2016, in the Fall 2017 legislative session, to avoid rolling back planned transit improvements from the Phase One Plan of the 10-Year Vision.

The Mayors’ Council and Board have tasked its respective Chairs and Vice Chairs, supported by the Funding Strategy Committee, to meet within 30-days with these provincial leaders to move the 90-Day #CureCongestion Action Plan forward:

  • The new Minister responsible for TransLink
  • The Metro Vancouver caucuses of the BC Liberals and BC NDP
  • The BC Green Party caucus

ABOUT THE 10-YEAR VISION FOR METRO VANCOUVER TRANSIT AND TRANSPORTATION

Phase One of the 10-Year Vision, a $2 billion plan, includes more frequent public transit service, road improvements and active transportation infrastructure. Phase One was approved in November 2016 and is being rolled out by TransLink starting this year. Two-thirds, or $1.3 billion, of the total capital and operating costs of the plan was funded from TransLink’s existing funding sources, cost savings and efficiencies, and new regional revenue sources.

Phase Two of the 10-Year Vision includes urgently-needed infrastructure such as the Millennium Line Broadway Extension in Vancouver, a new LRT system in Surrey, and replacement of the aging Pattullo Bridge, as well as additional road improvements and expansion of bus, rail and HandyDART services to meet the needs of our region’s growing population.

For more information: Mike Buda, Mayors’ Council, mike.buda@mayorscouncil.ca