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$7B transit plan includes Broadway line — plus increased fees, taxes, parking rates

Mayor’s Council and province announce $7 billion project that includes Broadway rapid transit line
transit announcement
Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, who chairs the Mayor’s Council on Regional Transportation, calls Friday's $7 billion announcement a "huge win for transit users, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians." Photo Dan Toulgoet

More transit is on the way for Metro Vancouver.

The expansion of the Millennium Line along Broadway to Arbutus, expanded capacity on the existing Expo and Millennium lines and the construction of a light rail line in Surrey were all announced on Friday.

The Mayor’s Council on Regional Transportation and the provincial government are committing $7 billion in infrastructure funding to pay for phase two of the council’s 10-year plan. The plan also includes an eight per cent increase in bus service, as well as more funding for HandyDart services and improvements to sidewalks, bikeways, multi-use paths and roadways.

The province has agreed to cover 40 per cent of the capital costs for the 10-year plan, leaving the mayors to come up with a plan to fund the region’s share of $2.5 billion.

The council is proposing a two per cent increase in all transit fares over two years beginning in 2020, which amounts to:

  • a five- to 15-cent increase to adult and concession fares, and
  • a $1 to $3 increase to adult and concession monthly passes.

As well, the council proposes:

• a 15-cent per hour increase to parking fees

• $5.50 annual increase in property taxes per average household starting in 2019, and

• $300 to $600 increase to development cost charges on new residential developments.

The council is also expecting $1.6 billion in fare revenues from higher ridership resulting from service expansions in phase two, as well as additional revenue from transit-related commercial opportunities.

“This is a huge win for transit users, drivers, cyclists and pedestrians,” said Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, who chairs the council. “In addition to moving forward with the rapid transit projects, this funding agreement unlocks a massive investment that will continue the significant investment that will continue the significant expansion to bus service across the region that kicked off last year.”

“Phase two plan, together with phase one plan that we announced a little over a year ago, will add 900,000 more hours of bus service per year to our already extensive bus network,” he said. “We are adding almost as much bus service as it delivered in total by B.C. Transit in the rest of the province.”

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Selina Robinson, who is also responsible for TransLink, called it the largest transit infrastructure expansion in Metro Vancouver history.

She said in addition to committing to funding 40 per cent of the capital costs of the plan and “to work with all levels of government to deliver on the transportation infrastructure needs that will grow our system,” the province will also reduce “TransLink’s fiscal pressures by $30 million, which will help the region get vital transportation projects under way as soon as possible.”

TransLink CEO Kevin Desmond said the next step in the process is public consultation starting in April and into May before the plan goes back to the mayor’s council for approval in June.

He said construction of the Millennium Line expansion to Arbutus Street and the Surrey light rail is expected to begin in late 2019 or early 2020.

“Our current projections would be the Broadway subway operational by 2025 and the Surrey light rail, the first 10-and-a-half kilometres, operational by 2024,” he said.

@JessicaEKerr

jkerr@vancourier.com