On Thursday the provincial government announced its funding initiative for public transportation improvements across Metro Vancouver.
They touched on the importance of supporting Metro Vancouver’s transit system and finding new ways to develop new affordable housing units.
“We all want to see new communities built, and neighbourhoods that are affordable and accessible,” said Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Peter Fassbender, who is also responsible for TransLink. “We believe investment in public transit can also result in more affordable housing, and we’re going to work closely with the region to see how we can fulfil the potential there.”
Fassbender confirmed there will be an investment of $246-million spent on the program over the next three years.
The funds will go towards improving transit across Metro Vancouver—with enhancements to the SeaBus, improvements to bus exchanges and SkyTrain stations and additional SkyTrain cars.
It will also assist with the initial work for a new major rapid transit system in both Vancouver and Surrey.
“We all want to see new communities built, and neighbourhoods that are affordable and accessible,” said Fassbender. “We believe investment in public transit can also result in more affordable housing, and we’re going to work closely with the region to see how we can fulfil the potential there.”
But the announcement didn’t sit well with others. New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote and the NDP spoke out on how Fassbender had originally promised to fund a third of the 10-year plan—not just the first phase.
Fassbender’s announcement has left many mayors confused as the plan falls short of what was originally planned.
While $246 million is a lot of money, it’s still short $50 million of what most mayors hoped for. Even with additional funding from the federal government, the mayors are exploring ways to make up the 50 million by potentially increasing fares by two per cent in 2018, selling TransLink surplus properties, increasing property tax for $3 per household, and a handful of other ideas that likely won’t sit will with residents.