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TransLink expansion plan could cost $23 billion dollars

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – It’s a big plan with a big bill. TransLink is looking to get support for a 30-year, $23 billion dollar vision.

The transportation authority thinks it’s needed as our region grows. But Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan argues it’s unrealistic.

“The fact is that neither the federal nor the provincial government is going to be prepared to make those kind of billion dollar investments in our system.”

However, Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson says there’s no other way around it.

“We don’t want more traffic congestion, and the only way to deal with that is to pay for good transit system, a good road network, and make sure that those function together.”

Translink is launching consultations over its plans. It says the vision would help the region reach a goal of getting people to make half their trips by foot, bike, or transit.

TransLink is encouraging people to go online to find out more.

Road pricing is part of that agenda, although some local leaders wonder if it ever has a chance of getting public support.

North Vancouver District mayor Richard Walton doesn’t think road pricing would ever have a hope of getting approved in a referendum, unless the vote only happens once the system is already in place.

Walton says that was the experience in Stockholm, which has a congestion tax.

“People had to actually see the system, see the impact that it had, before it went to referendum. At that point, enough people could see that it did make a difference.”

The BC government has promised a referendum next year on ways to fund TransLink.

However, Walton notes it could take up to six years to set up road pricing, based on the time it took in Stockholm.