It's been a long wait for provincial funding for more transit lines in Metro Vancouver, according to a new report.

B.C. systematically underfunding transit: report

Province is far shot of investment it promised in 2008, needs to find solution fast to tap federal transit grants

The B.C. government has fallen far short of commitments to invest in public transit laid out in its 2008 provincial transit plan while powering ahead with billions of dollars in spending on road and bridge megaprojects, according to a report by the David Suzuki Foundation.

Foundation CEO Peter Robinson accused the province of “systematic underfunding of transit” and thereby exacerbating congestion in dense areas of Metro Vancouver.

The provincial plan of 2008 promised $4.75 billion in provincial funding for transit over 12 years as part of $11.1 billion in total projects, but the Suzuki report says only $1.1 billion has so far flowed from the B.C. government.

Metro Vancouver projects have been largely frozen in the wake of Premier Christy Clark’s 2013 decision new funding sources would have to go to a referendum, which was defeated in 2015.

The foundation is among the transit advocates urging a solution to generate more funding quickly in order to ensure Metro Vancouver isn’t beaten by cities like Toronto and Montreal in getting their share of billions of dollars that the federal government is offering to expand transit.

“B.C. has spent a decade pondering a solution, and the current window of opportunity is time-bound and critical to the economic, social and environmental future of the province,” the report said.

Metro Vancouver mayors have proposed enabling TransLink to raise an extra one per cent every year from property tax payers, a $50 million new funding source enabled by the province, as well as a new system of regional development cost charges and another transit fare increase.

So far the province has suggested it would fund one third of the mayors’ $7.5-billion plan.

But the province has only committed to match the initial first phase of funding from the federal government, not the subsequent second phase that would be required to actually build new rapid transit lines in Surrey and Vancouver.

Minister for TransLink Peter Fassbender said the province remains committed to funding those new lines even though it can’t yet formalize that ahead of a federal decision on the second phase grants.

“The mayors can raise funding from existing sources for phase 1,” he said Monday. “I believe they’re going to do that. We’re going to work together with the federal government.

“I don’t buy the concept we have not seen any movement. We have seen significant movement.”

Fassbender insisted the B.C. government has made major transportation improvements since 2008, highlighting the opening of the Canada Line, the Evergreen Line under construction now and the replacement of the Port Mann Bridge, which brought new express bus service across the Fraser River.

The minister also said the government is hearing concerns about housing affordability “every day” and said better transportation and more housing supply – which could come with redevelopment along rapid transit corridors – is part of the solution.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old Langley man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

New art exhibit: Fraser River as seen by the salmon

In Fort Langley gallery show, UBC prof uses photos to offer unique insight into life of sockeye

Tenor from Langley-based Trinity Western University joins Vancouver Chamber Choir

Rob Workman feels ‘blessed by these opportunities’

ELECTION: Ryan Warawa to run for BC Conservative Party in Langley East

Son of late MP Mark Warawa is former president of provincial party

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Father hopes journey to aviation-safety program inspires hope

Former South Surrey resident Greg Sewell hasn’t given up on quest to mandate older-plane retrofits

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Most Read