Mayors' Council reaffirms commitment to big TransLink projects
Projects put into doubt when Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan replaced Gregor Robertson as chair last December
The Mayor's Council unanimously approved a motion to reaffirm its commitment to major TransLink projects like the Broadway subway and Surrey LRT on Thursday, despite a lukewarm endorsement from the council's new chair.
Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore says he put forward the notice of motion to quell any fears that Phase Two of TransLink's 10-year plan will be stalled because of the recent change in leadership at the council.
The council approves the long-term transportation strategies and investments of TransLink and appoints a majority of its board members.
Last December, Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan defeated Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson as the chair. Some elected officials have called Corrigan "transit regressive."
Corrigan supported Moore's motion, but reiterated his concerns about the funding gap for the projects.
"I think I've been very clear that we can't move forward unless that funding is in place, because legislation won't allow us to," Corrigan said.
"If you don't have the funding in place then you can't make promises that things are going to happen."
Funding for Phase 2
The first phase of the plan, which TransLink staff reported is well underway, includes new B-Line buses, increased SeaBus service and new SkyTrain cars.
Phase 2 will include more of the same, as well as major infrastructure projects like replacing the Patullo Bridge, the Broadway subway and a new light rail system for Surrey.
Corrigan said he has met with provincial and federal officials, and they have all have confirmed their financial commitment to the projects — but regional funding has yet to be secured.
The timeline for the second phase of the 10-year plan notes April as the deadline to secure that funding.
Mobility pricing under consideration
Mobility pricing, a form of tolling, is currently being examined as one option to fund major transit projects long term.
Last week, the independent commission on mobility pricing released its report on the first phase of its mission to research how to change the way transportation is priced in Metro Vancouver.
TransLink says mobility pricing — which refers to charging people for the use of roads, bridges and transit — would be used to reduce congestion, promote fairness and support investment in the transportation system.
But Corrigan said it's still too early to count on mobility pricing to fund Phase Two of the 10-year plan.
"I think there's been an over-reaction in the media and from some members of the public that this is going to happen tomorrow. I can tell you, it's not," Corrigan said.
"The reality is it's only the first phase of a report ... It is no panacea for the funding gap that exists."
With files from Cory Correia and The Early Edition