While we are encouraged by the recent progress on public transit expansion and improvement, we remain concerned that the strength of our families, businesses, and overall economy will be negatively impacted should dedication to meaningful, timely transit and transportation investments waver. In the coming years, an adequate public transit system that is well prepared for population growth will be critical in ensuring a high quality of life and business competitiveness within Greater Vancouver. The Scorecard reports that the region currently lags in this area, earning only a "C" grade for both its proportion of non-car commuters and its average commuting time. Significant bottlenecks in the movement of goods and people hampers our ability to ensure we maintain a highly efficient and environmentally responsible gateway.
To address transit and transportation issues, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade recommends that the next Provincial Government:
- Build on the momentum created by recent Phase 1 transit funding with continued investment in road and transit expansion and improvements, with projects such as:
- Rapid transit expansion in Surrey and to Langley
- Broadway Millennium Line extension
- 10-lane bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel
- Region-wide bus service expansion
- Pattullo Bridge 6-lane replacement
- More frequent Seabus service
- Take a leadership role in working with local governments and communities to pursue mobility pricing (e.g. road tolling, distance pricing, etc.) to fund further investments in public transit and roads; and
- Establish a new provincial regulatory framework which introduces ridesharing to the Province and provides residents with greater access to safe and reliable passenger transportation options:
- Review and update taxi regulations to enable the industry to effectively compete against new services and provide consumers with the benefits of a more competitive ride-for-hire market;
- Modernize provincial regulations and harmonize municipal regulations to remove unnecessary red tape and establish a regulatory regime which fosters innovation and competition.
Where they stand
Roads & Transit
- The BC Green Party is in the process of rolling out their platform for the 2017 provincial election, and has yet to make a significant announcement on roads and public transit policy.
- However, Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver has said his party sees a one-third funding commitment for major capital projects as a starting point.
- In the recently released "Climate Leadership" portion of their platform, the BC Green Party says they want to provide "predictable funding for public transport," ensure transit frequency meets demands, develop a 10-year transportation plan focused on "affordable, clean transportation," and put portion of an $80 million fund for GHG reduction and adaptation toward green transportation infrastructure.
- One transportation issue the BC Greens have been very active on is the importance of the B.C. Ferry system to our provincial economy and the consequences of fare increases.
- At a Board of Trade event in February, party leader Andrew Weaver committed his support for using carbon pricing ("polluter pay") and user pay models to help fund public transit.
- In February the Dr. Weaver introduced a private members bill to the B.C. Legislature in support of ridesharing.
- In the released portions of the BC Green Party platform, ridesharing is mentioned as an innovative way to reduce consumption of electricity.
Roads & Transit
- In late March, the BC Liberal Government announced $2.2 billion in funding for transit projects in Metro Vancouver. This matches the funding commitment made by the federal government and provides significant support for Phase Two of the Mayors' Plan. The funds could cover 40% of both the Surrey LRT and Broadway Skytrain extension. At the announcement, the Government also affirmed its commitment to 1/3 funding for TransLink's Pattullo Bridge replacement.
- The BC Liberal Government has championed the $3.5 billion to a 10-lane, tolled bridge replacement for the aging Massey Tunnel. While the planning began in 2012, the contract for the project will not be awarded until after the election. Advance work is underway and construction is expected to begin later in 2017.
- The BC Liberal Government has made other funding commitments for the provincial highway network throughout Greater Vancouver, including:
- The BC Liberals have yet to endorse mobility pricing, however it continues to be pushed by Metro Vancouver Mayors. Minister Fassbender has stated the Government will listen when they are presented with a "substantive" proposal by the mayors.
- [Update: April 11, 2017] On April 10, the BC Liberals announced their commitment to cap tolls at $500 dollars a year for commuters using the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridge. This cap will be expanded to include the replacements to the Pattullo Bridge and George Massey Tunnel.
- In early March, the B.C. government announced their plan to introduce a framework for ridesharing by the end of 2017. Ridesharing regulation will be coupled with the removal of competitive barriers for the taxi industry including geographic borders, as well as $1 million in provincial funds to develop an app and $3.5 million in crash-avoidance technology.
Roads & Transit [Update: April 17]
- BC NDP leader John Horgan has promised to raise provincial funding for major transit projects from the current 33% to 40%. They envision a “50-40-10” formula with the federal and local governments funding the remaining 50% and 10% respectively.
- The BC NDP platform document specifically states their support for Broadway Skytrain extension, rapid transit in Surrey, the Pattullo bridge replacement, and increased bus service and improving road networks
- The NDP platform makes no mention of the Massey Tunnel Replacement Project. The party has previously indicated that they believe the province should follow the priorities of Metro Vancouver Mayors who have opposed the project.
- The BC NDP announced their intent to eliminate tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges.
- They have stated their intent to work with Metro municipalities to create a new governance model for TransLink and remove any referendum requirement.
Mobility Pricing [Update: April 17]
- The BC NDP have not made any announcement on whether or not they would work with local communities to pursue mobility pricing. However, they have come out in favor of the Mayors’ Ten-Year Vision which envisions mobility pricing in the Greater Vancouver region.
Ridesharing [Update: April 17]
- Following the province’s introduction of a framework to bring ridesharing to B.C. by 2018, the NDP Leader John Horgan criticized the government’s position saying they would scrap the plan if his party wins in May, and that the NDP would conduct post-election consultations to find a fairer solution. Their platform reaffirms this position, and believe a different regulatory framework is necessary, one that creates a “level playing field for all providers.”