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Mayors' Council wants more provincial money, approves $2 billion transit plan

Last Updated Nov 23, 2016 at 3:12 pm PDT

(Courtesy TransLink)
Summary

The plan is given the green light, construction on some projects begin next year

One of the goals is to help reduce congestion on local roads

Public consultation on Phase 2 of the project begins next year

NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS 1130) — A big decision has come down from the Mayors’ Council that will impact the way you drive or ride to work or school. The council has voted unanimously to give TransLink’s Phase 1 plan the green light. The 10-year plan will see a property tax increase of about $3 per household and a fare hike to help pay for transit improvements.

Some critics of the plan, including Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, were noticeably absent from today’s vote. The goal is to reduce bottlenecks on our roads, overcrowding on transit, creating new bus routes along with increased pedestrian walkways and bike lanes.

“This is a big day for Metro Vancouver and the potential for billions of dollars to flow into our local transportation network, in particularly, in bus and SkyTrain improvements. We’ve waited many years for this day to come and it’s a testament to the unity… between the mayors around the region and the members of the TransLink board,” says Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Phase 1 of the plan will be funded by a $370 million contribution from the federal government and $246 million from the provincial government, with the remaining $1.3 billion of capital and operating costs coming from TransLink’s existing funding sources.

Members of the Mayors’ Council admit there are still many areas across the region that don’t have adequate service, mainly south of the Fraser River including the Township of Langley. “I think we’re stepping far beyond where any expected with Phase 1 because we know it’s necessary in the region and that turns the attention back to the federal and provincial government. We urgently need them to make that next big investment so we can get the major projects on Broadway, south of the Fraser with the Pattullo Bridge. We need much more significant investment from them,” adds Robertson.

Minister responsible for TransLink Peter Fassbender is happy with today’s approval. “This will enable the region to make the necessary transit improvements and expansions that will benefit Metro Vancouver residents and visitors alike. With approximately a quarter of a billion dollars in funding from the Government of British Columbia already in place — as well as funding from the federal government and public support for the plan — we are all eager to get “shovels in the ground” and help meet the growing transportation needs of the region and create livable communities that are affordable, interconnected and sustainable.”

Phase 2 of the pan will be put forward to the public for consultation in 2017

Project Highlights

  • 10 per cent increase in bus service
  • 15 per cent increase in HandyDART service
  • 20 per cent increase in rail service following delivery of new rail cars (Expo Line, Millennium Line and Evergreen Extension, Canada Line, West Coast Express)
  • Pre-construction and consultation on Broadway subway and Surrey-Langley light rail
  • New funding for improvements to the Major Road Network
  • Expansion and improvements to cycling and walking networks

 

TransLink says bus service improvements will begin in April 2017, and further rail service increases won’t occur until late 2018.