Province says Metro Vancouver can't afford its mayors' transportation plan

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      The provincial government formally rejected a 30-year transportation plan for Metro Vancouver that was proposed by the region’s mayors on June 12.

      “More work is required with respect to the safe and efficient movement of goods across the region,” wrote B.C. Minister of Transportation Todd Stone. “More work is also required on some of the funding assumptions to ensure there is an accurate and realistic plan to pay for the Vision.”

      In a four-page letter addressed to North Vancouver District Mayor Richard Walton, chair of the Mayor’s Council on Regional Transportation, Stone described several concerns for how projects proposed by the mayors would be funded.

      He noted that the $7.5-billion plan calls for $1.5 billion in federal funding over the next 10 years, but that Ottawa is only prepared to provide B.C. with $1 billion in that timeframe.

      “This amount of funding will not be enough to accommodate all of the projects in your Vision, as well as other necessary and competing infrastructure needs throughout the province,” Stone stated.

      “Realistically, if the Mayors’ expectations for federal funding are not met, this will either require higher regional contributions to fully fund the identified priorities, or phasing of projects over a longer time frame.”

      The letter acknowledges that the mayors have suggested using funds raised through B.C.’s carbon tax. Stone dismissed that option, noting that the existing carbon tax is revenue neutral.

      A new regional carbon tax could be considered by the mayors, Stone continued; however, he also suggested that a new tax would be “complex and costly to administer”, and that it would require a favourable vote from the public via a referendum.

      Mobility pricing is also being discussed as a possible source for funding.

      Stone wrote that the Ministry of Transportation would work with the mayors’ council to assess those options.

      If the mayors decide to pursue a new regional carbon tax and opt for a referendum on that question to be held in November 2014, Stone wrote that his office requires receiving formal notification no later than July 15, 2014.

      If a later date is selected for a referendum, the mayors would have to notify the ministry in the fall of 2014.

      Proposals for Metro Vancouver transportation upgrades include new rapid transit for Vancouver and light rail for Surrey.
      Mayors Council on Regional Transportation

      The mayors’ transportation plan is proposed to accommodate the one million additional Metro Vancouver residents expected to be added to the region over the next 30 years.

      Projects include a rapid transit line down the Broadway Corridor, light rail in Surrey, a new Patullo Bridge, and expanded bus networks and SeaBus service.


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      View from the coast

      Jun 24, 2014 at 6:38pm

      Second largest donor to the BC Libs
      The New Car Dealers Association of B.C. - $822,814
      Need I say more.


      Jun 24, 2014 at 8:45pm

      No one can afford these plans or the way they plan to raise it through more tax or road pricing. Thin your own house before you come back to the public. Rent a cops earning 100k a year, something is wrong.


      Jun 24, 2014 at 10:15pm

      Todd Stone should breed with Suzanne Anton so that their born offspring would be so inconceivably stupid as to tear at the fabric space-time itself thereby ensuring the destruction of their DNA linage back in a time to when we were related to shrews. I doubt Mr. Stone has ever even seen a bus. Does he offer a solution? Nope no siree. He offers NOTHING to this conversion therefore he should be eviscerated forthwith.

      Here's the deal.

      Jun 25, 2014 at 8:06am

      Mayoral incompetence is the reason why the Province took control of Translink is the first place. The myopic Mayors can't accomplish anything. Never have, never will. Although they were taking pot shots from the cheap seats for years they never REALLY wanted control of Translink. They just wanted to use Translink as a proxy taxation system for their pet projects. The public flogging of Translink was nothing more than a PR game. Now that the Province called their bluff and gave them control their true colors are coming out. They want this, that and the other, but don't want to pay for it. (they can raise property taxes and everything is funded tomorrow) The Translink board needs to be elected and independent of both municipal and provincial politics before anything will get accomplished.

      A Common Sense Outcome

      Jun 25, 2014 at 10:55am

      Excellent news. I can't believe I support the Libs on something but clearly this "vision" of our transportation infrastructure is so ridiculously goofy (road pricing??) and based in some fantasy world where motorists are rich, evil minions of destruction who can be taxed and tolled infinite times over. How about the Mayors and other contributors to this report actually roll up their sleeves and think outside of the "lets tax people to death" box and make a plan that is within our ability to pay for, not some lazy half- baked report that fails because it costs drivers and taxpayers alike a fortune. And one that doesn't ridiculously demonize drivers - unless they plan to design a bike that can haul a semi trailer.

      Evil Eye

      Jun 25, 2014 at 2:00pm

      Never were transit plans so expensive, for so little.

      The fools running Lotus Land would pauper the entire Fraser Valley so they could play subways in Vancouver.

      Let's bring on the referendum so we can vote no.


      Jun 25, 2014 at 3:03pm

      "And one that doesn't ridiculously demonize drivers - unless they plan to design a bike that can haul a semi trailer"

      Improved transit (and bike lanes FWIW) get cars off the road. That makes it easier for truckers to do their job. It's not buses and bikes costing them time and money, it's motorists. Your comment is as silly as the people who claim they need a four wheel drive truck and free parking everywhere because they might randomly buy a fridge on the way home from work. The reality is that if you think the efficient movement of goods is a key priority for our roads, then the only logical position you can take is to support vastly improved transit -- so that commercial vehicles of all kinds can get where they need to go quickly, safely, and efficiently. Oh, and what car can pull a semi-trailer load anyway?


      Jun 25, 2014 at 6:30pm

      Vancouver, ist class city, third world transport system. Victoria , 1st world city, 3rd world sewage system . we should all be ashamed for voting in a government who think this is o.k. in the 21st century.

      A Common Sense Outcome

      Jun 26, 2014 at 10:38am

      "Improved transit (and bike lanes FWIW) get cars off the road."

      While this may be true to some extent, its the foolhardy arrogance of the cycling community and those politicians who blindly follow such stubbornly imbedded beliefs that make the discussion on transportation initiatives full of us vs. them, polluting motorists vs. wonderful "green" cyclists, rhetoric. Ultimately it does nothing to actually address and solve transportation issues because there are limits to how many people will take transit or ride a bike to work regardless of its efficiency or cost. Many people enjoy the freedom associated with driving or cannot administer their entire life by cycling alone, and, as many motorists are taxpayers and pay gas taxes, drivers have a right to expect an infrastructure plan that includes driver related considerations which are affordable, not just financially punitive measures (ie. road pricing) that will have an negative economic effect on everyone by increasing the costs of goods and services that rely on 4- wheel transport for distribution or delivery. How about if drivers must pay more then cyclists must pay as well to register and license their bikes just like cars?

      Ignoring a segment of the population who does not subscribe to your biking-and- transit- solves- everything dogma only fuels resentment toward expansion of bike lanes and other measures that increase driving times around the lower mainland. Motorists here already suffer from some of the worst congestion in North America, making it worse while crossing your fingers that people will stop driving is neither a pragmatic nor cost effective solution.