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Local mayors to push Ottawa for stable funding to ensure major transit projects go through

Last Updated May 6, 2019 at 12:43 pm PDT

File Photo. (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)

METRO VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – While many of us like the idea of better access to rapid transit in our region, federal money for major projects like the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain hasn’t always been predictable.

With Transit Day on the Hill scheduled for Tuesday, Metro Vancouver mayors are heading to the nation’s capital where they plan to make a pitch to change that system.

Building a major project like a SkyTrain extension takes months of consultation and years of planning — and then you have to actually build it.

However, oftentimes even getting to the planning stage can be a challenge without federal cash while dealing with the current ad hoc project-by-project approach.

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This approach adds yet another hurdle to what can already be a long process to building major transit projects, in the view of TransLink Mayors Council Chair Jonathan Cote.

“It does create a problem because, number one, there’s no certainty longterm. It makes it very difficult to develop a long-range plan, and actually be able to prioritize implementation of that plan,” he adds.

“We’re not even asking for more money than what has traditionally over the last numbers of years come to the region,” says Cote. “What we’re asking is a different way to that being implemented, and be implemented in a way that allows major cities to do proper transportation planning.”

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So he’s making the argument this week in a bid better allow regions like ours to sort out future transit.

“You’d actually end up with far better results and improved transportation systems, not only in Metro Vancouver, but in major cities across this country, if we moved to a more stable and predictable form of funding,” says Cote.

Cote and other local mayors will outline their perspective to more than 30 members of parliament from all parties during meetings this week.