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Better Transit and Transportation Coalition

 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

VANCOUVER — The BC Chamber, Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association and the Vancouver Board of Trade welcomed the government's commitment that the Metro Vancouver Congestion Tax will be a simple extension of the PST rather than a new, separate tax structure.

"This announcement addresses a concern that we had heard from our members,' states John Winter, President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce. "While our members support the need for new investment in transit and transportation they were concerned that a new tax would have added significant cost and administrative burden onto small business in particular. This announcement removes this concern entirely."

The announcement today confirms that the significant new investment in transit and transportation in the Mayors Vision will come through an increase in the PST, exemptions will only be considered if requested by the Mayors Council. The removal of exemptions means that the funding will not add new complexity to the PST system, or new costs to business.

"It's clear government has listened to our concerns and acted to make sure that we can fund transit and transportation in a way that has the least impact on small business," states Iain Black, President and CEO of The Vancouver Board of Trade. "The fact that we are now talking about a simple 0.5% addition to the PST means that businesses will be able to address this quickly and efficiently which is good for them and for their customers. It remains very crucial to our members that this money is segregated from general revenues and is only used for the Mayors' Transportation Plan; we are pleased to see the Minister reinforce this once again." Black added.

"The discussion on the referendum so far has been defined by a lack of clarity and a lot of confusion," continued Elizabeth Model, CEO of the Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association. "With this announcement the Provincial Government and the Mayors Council has ensured that the discussion will now focus on the issue of improving transit and transportation to improve our economy, our quality of life, and our environment."

Regional transportation is the backbone of our economy and quality of life. With more than 1 million people moving to Metro Vancouver in the next 25 years, investing in better transit and transportation is one of the most critical decisions our region can make for our economy, our environment and quality of life.

About the BTTC:

The Better Transit and Transportation Coalition is a new coalition — the biggest, most diverse ever in B.C. — supporting the Metro Vancouver Mayors' Council Plan to dramatically improve transit and transportation in our region. The BTTC has more than 65 organizational supporters representing more than 250,000 Metro Vancouver residents, including organizations from business, labour, environment, student, community, health and other groups. Learn more at the BTTC's new website: www.Bettertransit.info Follow us on Twitter @voteyestransit and Facebook BetterTransitInfo

For media information, please contact:

John Winter, BC Chamber of Commerce, President and CEO 604-376-3577,

Rob MacKay-Dunn, The Vancouver Board of Trade, 604-640-5454,

Elizabeth Model, Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association, CEO, 604-837-4818,

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