(File photo)

(File photo)

Metro Vancouver mayors ask public to lobby feds for annual $375M transit fund

Mayors renewing their call for transit funding as federal election looms

Metro Vancouver mayors are renewing their call for federal parties to establish a dedicated transit fund, as Canada inches closer to the election this fall.

Mayors’ Council executive director Mike Buda said the fund would allow them to plan longterm.

The model would be similar to the gas tax, which provides infrastructure to communities based on their populations. The gas tax fund delivers about $2 billion a year to municipalities across the country.

“We’re saying look, base a permanent direct funding mechanism, a congestion relief fund, on similar principles,” Buda said at the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation Thursday.

“In the longterm we would know how much we were going to get. That allows us to align federal funding with the planning we do.”

The proposal isn’t looking for extra money on top of what has been committed already by senior governments, Buda said, but simply to create a dedicated stream of federal cash that local leaders can rely on after that funding runs out in 2027.

New Westminster Mayor John Cote, who chairs the Mayors’ Council, said the fund would be “critically important.” The council is asking for $375 million a year.

Cote said mayors received a positive response when they headed to Ottawa several weeks ago, and said they would continue to meet with the federal government in the lead up to this fall’s election.

On Thursday, the Mayors’ Council rolled out an ad campaign on social media, as well as tools for the public and stakeholder organizations to reach out and lobby to the federal government.

READ MORE: TransLink fares to go up on July 1

VIDEO: TransLink to roll out battery-powered bus pilot this summer


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