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Board of Trade and BC Chamber urge mayors to take a leadership role on transit funding

October 18, 2012

The BC Chamber of Commerce and The Vancouver Board of Trade took the unprecedented step of issuing a joint statement on October 17, calling for the Mayors’ Council to approve a time-limited property tax increase to support transit funding.

“The Lower Mainland is our economic gateway for moving goods and services throughout the province,” said John Winter, President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce. “Without investment in transportation and transit, congestion in the Lower Mainland will just get worse, slowing down businesses and increasing costs for our members throughout the province.”

Last month, TransLink released its draft 2013 Base Plan, which included significant reductions from the 2012 Moving forward Plan approved last year. The rejection of the time-limited plan would result in the need for a further $60 million reduction in service by TransLink. Early indications show that this would result in significant further reductions in service levels.

“The Board of Trade retains its long-standing view that a mix of taxation sources, including a property tax, is imperative to properly fund a world-class transportation system,” said Iain Black, President and CEO of The Vancouver Board of Trade. “We urge the mayors to approve the time-limited two-year tax increase while a long-term funding model is negotiated — we cannot afford to move backwards before we move forward.”

Both organizations will continue to work with all parties, including the provincial and federal governments, towards developing a plan to ensure that the Lower Mainland has a world-class transportation and transit system which serves as a model for cities around the world.

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