Federal Budget Could Kick-Start Improved Transit

March 19, 2019

NEW WESTMINSTER, BC — TransLink and its Mayors’ Council welcome today’s federal budget announcement that doubles the existing Gas Tax Fund (GTF) starting later this year. This commitment could lead to an additional $130 million for transit investment in Metro Vancouver, will help deliver the next phase of transit improvements in the 10-Year Vision for Metro Vancouver Transit all while not impacting gas prices at the pump.

“With ridership on our buses, trains and SeaBus at an all time high and demands across the region increasing, we must continue to invest in the system,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond. “Additional funds from the Gas Tax Fund will help us reduce congestion and decrease GHGs as well as air pollution.”

Last year, TransLink invested $142 million from GTF in 62 hybrid buses and six zero emissions battery-electric buses for service expansion that will also support the region’s environmental policies, and 52 HandyDART vehicles, nine new community shuttles, and 25 double-decker buses for service expansion and fleet modernization.

Just last week, the Mayors’ Council asked TransLink to bring back a plan to accelerate components of the next phase of its 10-Year Vision. This phase will include:

  • Additional expansion to bus and HandyDART service in every corner of the region,
  • Up to 5 new express B-Lines which would collectively serve Burnaby, North Shore, Langley, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Surrey, Vancouver, and White Rock, and
  • Support for the Low Carbon Fleet Strategy to eliminate emissions from TransLink’s 1400-strong bus fleet.

“This announcement is a welcome contribution towards new transit services for the next phase of the 10-Year Vision,” said Jonathan X. Coté, Mayor of New Westminster and the Chair of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation. “More importantly, it also sets the stage for the federal government to commit to a permanent, sustainable transit fund that gives regional transit planners and decision makers the certainty needed to plan for future projects that meet the needs of Metro Vancouver’s rapidly growing population.”

The Mayors’ Council and TransLink look forward to working with the Province of BC and Metro Vancouver on the design and allocation of this GTF top-up funding, to ensure that this one-time federal investment gets converted into better services for Metro Vancouver residents quickly and responsibly.

 

Media contact:
TransLink Media Relations
C: (778) 375-7788

E: media@translink.ca

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