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$7 billion in funding approved for Vancouver region transit infrastructure

JOC News Service
$7 billion in funding approved for Vancouver region transit infrastructure

VANCOUVER — The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation and the TransLink Board of Directors have approved more than $7 billion in transportation improvements.

The investment is the largest in Vancouver’s history and will include the expansion of the Skytrain light rapid transit network along with road rehabilitation, new bus lines and expanded bus service.

“This builds on positive momentum sparked by last year’s major boost to transit service through Phase One of the Mayors’ 10-Year Vision. Those increases helped drive transit ridership growth that is leading North America, helping reduce congestion by getting thousands of people out of their cars in the process. This next phase of investments will capitalize on this fantastic start,” Mayors’ Council chair and Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan said in a statement.

The Skytrain expansion will include an extension of the Millennium Line with six new stations along Broadway from VCC-Clark to Arbutus Street in Vancouver, and 108 new Skytrain cars and 95 replacement cars for the Expo and Millennium Lines.

A new Surrey Newton-Guildford light rapid transit line will also be built along 104 Avenue, City Parkway and King George Boulevard, and $75 million will go towards rehabilitation and upgrades to the road network.

“This milestone could not have been possible without all levels of government working together to finalize a funding plan. Already we’ve seen the benefits that come when you add more service. You reduce crowding and make transit more convenient and enjoyable. By making transit a better experience, ridership grows and the benefits continue to add up for everyone across the region,” TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond said.

The provincial government has committed to funding 40 per cent of the capital costs of Phase Two of the Mayors’ Council 10-Year Vision, and will partly fund the investment plan with legislation by spring 2019 to increase the motor fuel tax in Metro Vancouver by up to 1.5 cents per litre. The federal government will make investments in public transit through the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund.

The Mayors’ Council has determined the region will fund the plan through fares, parking tax, property tax, increased revenue from ridership growth and a development cost charge.

Future planning includes project development and potential early works for the Surrey-Langley Line as well as planning for a Burnaby Mountain gondola and rapid transit to the University of British Columbia’s Point Grey campus.

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