There is no question that the time to invest in transit is now, and not when things get worse. This point is reiterated by a recent study of congestion costs by economists at HDR Consulting, which has confirmed that traffic congestion already costs Metro Vancouver’s regional economy around $1 billion each year in vehicle operating costs, lost productivity and pollution from vehicle emissions. This is the first study to explore the impact of one million more people moving to our region on congestion costs.
“Our economy, businesses and local residents are paying far too high a cost for the current level of traffic congestion on our roads each and every year,” said Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore, chair of Metro Vancouver Board of Directors. “With one million more people moving to our region this problem is only going to get worse. We need to vote ‘yes’ to invest in better transit and roads now to protect our quality of life, economy and environment in the future.”
A “no” vote and failure to plan for this significant growth would double the annual regional cost of congestion to $2 billion by 2045 if we don’t substantially improve and invest in our transportation and transit system, the HDR study found.
“A ‘yes’ vote for better transit and roads would result in a 33% reduction in congestion costs over the next 30 years – even with one million more people and 500,000 more vehicles coming to our region. Much of that growth is expected right here in communities south of the Fraser so immediate action is critical to ensure we’re prepared,” said Mayor Moore.
The Mayors’ Plan includes investment in major roads; a new Pattullo Bridge; increased bus service in existing and new communities; expanded SkyTrain service; new LRT for Surrey and the Langleys; more West Coast Express and SeaBus service; a Millennium Line extension tunnelled to Arbutus; more NightBus and HandyDART service; and improved walking and cycling facilities throughout the region. This will create more convenient choices for people to take transit, and will help reduce traffic congestion for those who choose to drive and for goods movement.
“This study provides an evidence-based picture of the ongoing cost of congestion due to the high volume of traffic on Metro Vancouver’s roads and bridges,” said David Lewis, a senior economist and recently retired Senior Vice President of HDR, who led the study. “Excess traffic and related congestion have a significant and negative financial and social impact on local economies and households. This only gets worse as more vehicle trips are added to the same road network.”
A “no” vote would be mean more time stuck in traffic, less time with family, increased costs and more vehicle emissions polluting the air we breathe. The cost of doing nothing would literally be untold millions as our commutes, roads and economy become more and more congested.
To pledge your support for “yes”, visit www.bettertransit.info.
For more information on the Mayors’ Plan, visit www.mayorscouncil.ca.
In less than 30 days, starting on March 16, registered voters may begin to vote in the transit referendum and will have until May 29, 2015 to mail in their ballot. For more information on the voting process, visit www.elections.bc.ca.
Feature Image: Stuck in traffic via shutterstock