The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation voted to approve a strategy today aimed at expanding transportation across Metro Vancouver.
"We know we can expect more than a million new residents to arrive in Metro Vancouver over the next 30 years, so we need to take action now by investing in our transportation system," North Vancouver District Mayor Richard Walton, the chair of the mayors’ council, said in a news release today (June 12).
"When it comes to protecting the economy, our environment and our quality of life, the highest price to pay would be the price of doing nothing.”
Priorities detailed in the $7.5-billion plan include new light rail transit lines in Surrey, extending the Millenium Line from VCC-Clark to Arbutus Street, a new four-lane Patullo Bridge, and 11 new B-line routes across the region.
Other improvements prioritized by the mayors’ council include 50 percent more SeaBus service, a 30 percent increase in HandyDart service, and a 25 percent bus service increase.
The plan is contingent on funding including $3.95 billion in federal, provincial and partner government contributions, $500 million in increased ridership revenue, and a Patullo Bridge toll.
The document also proposes new funding sources including reallocating $250 million in B.C. Carbon Tax revenues toward transportation in the region and a "staged introduction of mobility pricing on the road network".
“The provincial government has committed that any new revenue sources required to fund the transportation investment plan will be put to a voters through a referendum,” Port Coquitlam mayor Greg Moore noted.
Specific improvements proposed for Vancouver include new B-line routes from downtown Vancouver to SFU along Hastings Street, from Joyce-Collingwood to UBC on 41st Avenue, downtown Vancouver to S.E. Marine Drive, and Lynn Valley Centre to downtown Vancouver.
B.C.’s minister of transportation and infrastructure asked the mayor’s council on regional transportation in February to confirm its transportation vision and to outline costs and priorities for projects.
The mayors’ council consists of representatives from 23 local governments in Metro Vancouver.