Metro Vancouver mayors are hoping that public outcry will help them make transportation in the region a top election issue on May 9.
The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation launched their #CureCongestion campaign in Surrey on Wednesday morning.
“Ultimately we need strong commitments from all the provincial parties for the entire 10-year-plan,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. “We’ve seen commitments to the first phase – bus and SkyTrain improvements – which is great, we’ve seen recent commitments to the Broadway and Surrey rapid transit programs but we have the whole rest of the plan that needs to be funded.”
The province announced last week that it would match the $2.2 billion in funding from the federal government for the Millennium Line Broadway Extension and Surrey light rail.
— Van Mayor’s Office (@VanMayorsOffice) April 5, 2017
But Robertson said that B.C. needs to do more to support projects like replacing the Pattullo Bridge, increasing HandyDart service and continuing to upgrade overcrowded skytrains – as well as allowing for a regional development fee to help Metro municipalities pay their share.
Noting the Massey Bridge groundbreaking happening later Wednesday morning, Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner added that it was important to see provincial commitments to collaborative projects like the 10-year-vision rather than just to standalone projects like the $3.5 billion Massey Bridge.
“Of course [the bridge] will benefit Surrey but it is not part of the integrated system of the 10–year plan that the mayors developed,” said Hepner.
With the Massey slated to be a toll bridge and with plans underway for the Patullo replacement to also be tolled, Hepner believes that it is time to change the tolling structure in Metro Vancouver.
“We continue to talk about the fairness of tolling. That’s why we’re so interested in mobility pricing because there is no level of fairness when you’re south of the Fraser,” she said. “It’s very clear to me that we need a better pricing policy.”
What the new policy will look like is still up in the air.
“It could run the gamut from the time that you travel, the distance that you travel to the crossings that you use,” said Hepner.
WATCH: Todd Stone says province will need to overhaul tolling policy