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B.C. government commits $2.4B to transit in Metro Vancouver

Click to play video: 'Province invests $2.4 billion in TransLink' Province invests $2.4 billion in TransLink
Transit in Metro Vancouver continues to recover from the effects of COVID-19 with ridership still not reaching pre-pandemic levels. The province is now pitching in and committing to a multi-billion dollar bailout for TransLink. Richard Zussman has more. – May 27, 2022

The B.C. government says a Surrey-to-Langley SkyTrain line and electrified bus fleets are among the projects that will benefit from a $2.4-billion investment in Metro Vancouver transit.

George Heyman, B.C.’s minister responsible for TransLink, announced the funds Friday, saying people throughout Metro Vancouver will have more affordable and convenient travel options, while reducing climate pollution.

Read more: TransLink lays out new 10-year vision with focus on bus rapid transit

The government said in a news release the funds are part of its commitment to cover 40 per cent of the 10-year vision for transit outlined by the regional mayors’ council on regional transportation.

The investment plan for TransLink, which is Metro Vancouver’s transportation authority, includes expanding transit service, building more bus-priority infrastructure and transitioning bus fleets from diesel to zero-emission vehicles.

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Click to play video: 'Property taxes to go up to support TransLink' Property taxes to go up to support TransLink
Property taxes to go up to support TransLink – May 26, 2022

The release said the plan will help TransLink replace more than one third of its diesel bus fleet, with about 500 buses that run on electric batteries or natural gas.

On Wednesday, TransLink said its recovery of ridership that plummeted during the pandemic has been stronger than many North American transit networks, but still hasn’t returned to previous levels.

Read more: TransLink ridership rebounds to 70% of pre-pandemic levels

It said ridership across its system has rebounded to 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels after reaching 59 per cent last year.

TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn says in a statement Friday the province’s support for the investment plan will ensure the transportation authority is on solid ground while advancing priority projects.

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“It has been a challenging few years, and we thank the provincial government for its commitment to ensure transit continues to serve residents throughout Metro Vancouver.”

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