Transit upgrades, funding, should be focus of B.C. election, say Metro mayors

By The Canadian Press
April 5, 2017 - 10:19am

SURREY, B.C. — Metro Vancouver mayors have launched a campaign aimed at putting transit at the centre of the upcoming election in British Columbia.

Members of the Mayors’ Council on transit have held a news conference outside a Surrey SkyTrain station, calling on the next B.C. government to invest more in transportation around Metro Vancouver.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson says the Mayors’ Council appreciates recent federal and provincial investments of $4.4 billion, but wants funding for its entire 10-year plan for transit improvements.

Those projects would range from HandyDART and other bus service improvements to upgrades for aging SkyTrain stations and a commitment to the replacement of the Pattullo Bridge between Surrey and New Westminster.

New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote pegs the bridge replacement at more than $1 billion, with tolls covering half the cost, but he says the project would still be short of at least half a billion dollars.

The election campaign intends to identify the transit priorities of B.C.’s major political parties, and Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner believes the initiative could form a blueprint after the general election on May 9.

“Today is all about talking around where can the next provincial government help us in achieving our goals in the entirety of the (10-year) plan,” she says.

Cote says the Mayors’ Council is also launching a website to raise the profile of transportation issues across Metro Vancouver.

The Canadian Press

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