Vancouver city council has officially thrown its support behind the “yes” side in the upcoming regional referendum on transit funding.
Councillors unanimously approved a motion brought forward by Non-Partisan Association councillor George Affleck today (January 20), which calls for the mayor to establish a “broad coalition of interests” and for staff to recommend measures to ensure the referendum’s success.
“It’s really crucial that we as a city take a leadership role in this,” Affleck said as he introduced the motion.
Vision Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs said a “very, very strong yes vote” is needed in the city.
“Because even if we’re successful at getting a strong yes vote, we can’t be sure that this referendum will pass,” he said. “And the stronger that we do it here, the easier it’ll be for some other municipalities."
Meggs added city staff should feel comfortable to “bring forward a fairly robust set of initiatives,” including some funding if necessary.
“Because we’re only going to get one chance at this and it’s crucial for our city for this to be successful,” he said.
Mayor Gregor Robertson noted that Surrey and New Westminster councils have also unanimously approved motions supporting the “yes” side of the referendum.
“We all recognize how crucial this is for our city and our region, and in fact our province and country, when you look at how important Metro Vancouver is to the economy of our province and country,” he said. “That economic success is certainly at risk if we don’t invest in our transportation network.”
Metro Vancouver residents will vote by mail from March 16 to May 29 on whether they support a 0.5 percent tax to pay for a 10-year transportation and transit plan.
The plan seeks to increase service for crowded bus routes, SkyTrain, Canada Line, Sea Bus, and West Coast Express, add new B-line rapid transit bus routes, upgrade major roads, build a new Patullo Bridge, and add light rail transit for Surrey and a Broadway subway from the VCC-Clark SkyTrain station to Arbutus Street.