WATCH: Metro Vancouver mayors have given the green light to a $7.5 billion transit expansion plan but as Ted Chernecki explains, it’s unclear where the money will come from.
The Metro Vancouver Mayors’ Council has approved their new transportation plan for the Lower Mainland, calling for rapid transit in Surrey and a new “mobility tax.”
The 10-year plan will cost $7.5 billion.
Mayors are hoping to get half of the funding from various levels of government, and the rest from carbon tax, a new mobility tax, road tolls and increased revenues from higher ridership.
The mobility tax will charge drivers based on how far they drive, and will be implemented in stages over the longer term.
WATCH: Port Coquitlam mayor Greg Moore has more on the transit plan announcement
In Surrey, the plan calls for light rail along 104 Avenue and King George Blvd. in the first seven years, and Fraser Highway to Langley Centre in the first 12 years.
The long-awaited subway under Broadway is mentioned, but not all the way to UBC — the plans recommends extending the Millennium Line from VCC-Clark to a new station at Arbutus.
A four-lane replacement of the Pattullo Bridge is proposed, and it will be tolled.
There will be 25 per cent more buses, and 200 more kilometres of B-Line routes — 11 new routes all across the Lower Mainland. Service will also be more frequent, and Nightbus and HandyDART services will be improved.
The SeaBus will have more frequent service, as well as the West Coast Express.
For more information on the plan, click here.
The Surrey Board of Trade has released a statement saying they support the plan.
“We are pleased to see that the proposed funding mechanisms for this vision do not include an increase in property taxes, but rather a reallocation or re-structuring of the carbon tax to fund these needed transportation projects”, said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.
“In addition, the components that speak specifically to Surrey that include the replacement of the Pattullo Bridge, implementation of light rail transit (LRT), as well as the provision of additional B-Line bus routes, rail upgrades, cycling and walking infrastructure upgrades, are in line with existing Surrey Board of Trade Transportation Policy.”
WATCH: SFU City Program Director Gordon Price provides analysis of the plan
Unions representing workers at Translink and Coast Mountain Bus Company are also in agreement with the plan, saying it is good news for transit users, drivers, the economy and the environment.
“Our riders clearly know we urgently need more buses just to deal with existing demand, let alone growth in Metro Vancouver,” said Unifor Local 111 president Nathan Woods, representing 3,600 transit operators. “This plan will make life better for both commuters and drivers because it will provide 25% more buses, encouraging people to leave the car at home and take transit, which is better for our environment.”
WATCH: Transit blogger Nathan Pachal weighs in on the Metro Vancouver transportation plan