Mayors’ Council seeks renewed partnership from federal government to meet unprecedented transit ridership growth

Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart to meet with officials in Ottawa next week to secure commitments for Mayors’ Council transit plan

November 13, 2019 (New Westminster, B.C.) – The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation is asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other federal party leaders to support continued funding to complete the 10-Year Vision, based on new data that shows ridership on Metro Vancouver’s transit system is growing more quickly than anticipated.

Previous data showed four-year ridership growth of 17%, however new projections show this growth trend strengthening, with TransLink adding at least 20% more riders to its system between 2016 and the end of 2019. This is well ahead of any other urban region in North America.

Following on a recent phone call with Prime Minister Trudeau, Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart will travel to Ottawa for meetings next week. Mayor Stewart is playing a lead role on behalf of the Mayors’ Council to coordinate engagement with the federal government on transit funding.

In advance of the October 21 federal election, the Liberal Party, NDP and Green Party each committed to making federal funding for transit permanent – in response to requests from the Mayors’ Council and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to extend existing funding beyond 2027.

These commitments are welcome and demonstrate ground-breaking national leadership in supporting long-term, sustainable transportation planning. However, given increasing demand for transit and worsening congestion on Metro Vancouver roads, the Mayors’ Council is also asking the federal government to renew its partnership with the BC government and regional leaders to quickly allocate funding to expedite completion of the 10-Year Vision.

“Permanent funding will help us meet demand in the future, but developing this new program will take time, and we need to move quickly to complete our current expansion plan to respond to soaring ridership growth,” said Mayor Jonathan Cote, Chair of the Mayors’ Council. “Metro Vancouver is a shovel ready partner of the new Government of Canada to help it quickly invest federal infrastructure funds into new transit projects and services that will help Canada meet national and international climate change targets, reduce congestion and help keep this national gateway moving.”

In recent letters sent to Prime Minister Trudeau and other party leaders, the Mayors’ Council has asked for a federal commitment in the Speech from the Throne to formalize a permanent transit fund, create an electric bus fleet conversion fund, and complete the final phase of the 10-Year Vision.

”The federal government has helped this region transform its transit planning over the past four years,” said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “We want this new government to build on its track record of partnership and leadership by committing to work with us to quickly turn the next wave of regional transit plans and priorities into on-the-ground services that benefit the region, as well as the environment and the economy.”

The Mayors’ Council plans to continue its Cure Congestion campaign, which engaged thousands of local voters and secured the support of a variety of stakeholders in industry, academia and the non-profit sector in the lead up to the 2019 federal election. Outreach to federal officials will include meetings with all elected MPs in Metro Vancouver, and party leaders in Ottawa.

Copies of the letters can be viewed at the following links:

Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party

Letter to Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Conservative Party

Letter to Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the NDP

Letter to Jo-Ann Roberts, Interim Leader of the Green Party

 

About the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation

The Mayors’ Council is composed of representatives from each of the 21 municipalities within the transportation service region in Metro Vancouver, as well as Electoral Area ‘A’ and the Tsawwassen First Nation, and collectively represent the viewpoints and interests of the citizens of the region. The Mayors’ Council is responsible for appointing the majority of members on the TransLink Board of Directors. It approves transportation plans prepared by TransLink, which deal with transportation service levels, major capital projects, regional funding and borrowing limits.

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