Starting in 2020 transit fares in Metro Vancouver are going to go up to help pay for the region’s share of Phase 2 transit projects. The Mayors’ Council and the B.C. government announced on Friday afternoon that fares will go up two per cent starting in two years time as part of the funding model for the Broadway subway extension and Surrey LRT.
The increase works out to a five to 15 cent increase for adult and concession transit fares and $1 to $3 increase to adult and concession monthly passes. TransLink is also chipping in $1.6 billion in fare revenues that it expects to collect because of higher than expected ridership.
“This is a huge win for transit users, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. In addition to moving forward with the rapid transit projects, this funding agreement unlocks a massive investment that will continue the significant expansion to bus service across the region that kicked off last year,” said Burnaby mayor and Mayors’ Council Chair Derek Corrigan. “Residents have been asking for more transit service for many years and we are now in the position to get that service where it’s needed.”
The province has also removed the referendum requirement for new funding for transit projects. This was a huge matter of contention between the former BC Liberal government and the Metro Vancouver mayors. In 2015, Metro Vancouver residents voted 61.7 per cent No and 38.4 per cent Yes to a new 0.5 per cent sales tax to help fund major infrastructure projects.
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Transit fares aren’t the only thing going up. The cost for all pay parks in Metro Vancouver will be going up 15 cents per hour for an average of $5 per hour parking. This is an increase from 21% to 24% to the existing parking lot rate. The B.C government will need to make legislative changes to allow this change.
Property taxes are also going up across Metro Vancouver. Starting in 2019, residents will be paying $5.50 more per average household per year. The Mayors’ Council also announced a $300 to $600 per unit increase to the Development Cost Charge on new residential developments. This will also require provincial legislative changes.
The funding will go towards construction of Surrey-Newton-Guildford light rail, construction of the Millennium Line Broadway extension and significant upgrades of the existing Expo-Millennium Lines to expand capacity.
“It is important that we get moving on Phase 2 of the Vision as soon as possible to get people out of congestion, so they can spend more time with their families and less time stuck in traffic,” said Municipal Affairs Minister Selina Robinson. “We are giving Metro Vancouver the tools they need to be able to leverage the funding committed by senior levels of government so they can continue to meet the demands of a growing region.”
The provincial and federal governments have have already committed to funding 40 per cent each of the Mayors’ Council’s plan. Global News has confirmed that federal officials are expected to come to Metro Vancouver to official sign a bilateral agreement to fund the Phase 2 projects.