Metro Vancouver's mayors pitch for more federal transit funding

Sep 14 2016, 7:11 pm

Metro Vancouver’s Mayors’ Council is preparing to ask the federal government for more money in order to increase funds for transit projects.

The 14-page proposal was summited by the Mayors’ Council on September 9.

In the 2016 budget, the federal government introduced a $20 billion Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF).

Phase 1 of the PTIF allocated $370 million to Metro Vancouver regional transit to cover project costs between 2016 and 2019. The Province of BC matched that contribution with $236 million.

Phase 2 will distribute the remaining $16.6 billion to cities across Canada between 2019 and 2027.

The federal government will likely announce the allocation of that money during 2017’s budget announcement and the Regional Mayor’s Council is vying for a bigger piece of the Phase 2 funds.

The Mayors’ submission focuses on the second phase of the PTIF program, making the argument that Metro Vancouver needs increased funding for transit projects due to its population growth, its large geographic area, traffic congestion, and increased transportation costs due to high housing prices.

“Of 35 million Canadians, 22.5 million, or almost two-thirds, are serviced by public transit agencies, and 13 million live in one of four urban centres with extensive rail-based rapid transit networks: Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver,” write the mayors in the document.

“With population and employment density in Canada’s cities reaching record levels, these four urban areas depend heavily on the people-moving capacity, speed, and space-efficiency that only rail-based rapid transit systems can deliver.”

The mayors make seven key recommendations to the federal government as to why they the should receive more money for Phase 2. This includes a separate funding “tier” for rail-based rapid transit networks.

Image: Mayors' Council Public Meeting

Image: Mayors’ Council Public Meeting Agenda

The Mayors’ Council will vote on (and most likely pass) the submission on Friday, September 16, which also happens to be the federal government’s deadline on transit funding consultations.