Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson sent out today (July 3) the following message to subscribers of his office's email list, in response to the results of the transit referendum:
Yesterday, Elections BC announced that Metro Vancouver residents voted 62% against a proposal to raise the sales tax to pay for new transit.
The results are disappointing, but I respect the decision of voters and thank all of those who participated – especially the unprecedented coalition that came together for #YesForTransit.
There was a clear message from voters across the region that they value transit and recognize the urgent need to invest in service improvements, but they lack confidence in TransLink and its capacity to manage the necessary funds. This is clearly an issue that the BC Government will need to address – and quickly.
Metro Vancouver is set to grow by over a million people in the next 25 years, and these results change nothing about the urgent need for major new investments in transit and transportation.
With people of all walks of life relying on transit every day, we can’t forget the human element in the public conversation around transit. This isn’t just about taxes or fees. For many people, public transit is the only way they can take their kids to daycare, go to school, or get to work – they don’t have the luxury of being able to choose to drive.
It was unfortunate that the Provincial Government forced a referendum on transit, while other vital services like hospitals, highways and tunnels are appropriately able to secure predictable funding.
But what’s done is done. We need to stay focused on the big picture – and that means improving the transportation system for everyone. When it comes to Vancouver, I am committed to ensuring the Broadway Subway is built. As North America’s busiest bus corridor, Broadway is in urgent need of more efficient public transportation, and I will continue to work with the Province and the Federal government to ensure we get the job done.
Make no mistake though: unless the Province enables new funding to support investments in transit, the entire regional transportation network will decline. The Mayors have repeatedly come together to put solutions forward, only to have the Province turn us down, or force the whole region into to a referendum. That’s where we are today, and without new funding, TransLink will be forced to make some difficult decisions.
We’ve got more work ahead of us, but I’m committed to pushing for better transit - not just for Vancouver, but for the entire region.
Thanks for all of your support,