Metro Vancouver could be heading for another transit referendum

B.C.'s provincial government isn't ruling out the idea of another transit referendum even after a major commitment to transit funding in yesterday's federal budget.

Federal budget means cities still need to cover 17 per cent of major transit upgrade costs

B.C.'s provincial government isn't ruling out the idea of another transit referendum even after a major commitment to transit funding in yesterday's federal budget. 

The federal Liberal's first budget contained two phases of transit funding. The first will see around $370 million spent in the Lower Mainland on renovating stations and improving aging cars.

If the Liberals maintain their governing party status, the second phase would roll-out in the 2020/21 budget and would include more money for major projects like the Surrey LRT and Broadway subway line. 

Ottawa would increase its share of funding from the standard 33 per cent up to 50 per cent. 

The province has been firm that it will cover no more than its 33 per cent share for those projects, leaving 17 per cent still to be covered by municipalities. But, it's unclear where that money would come from.

Yesterday, the TransLink Minister Peter Fassbender said he wouldn't rule out the possibility of another referendum to cover that cost.

"I'm not going to speculate at this point. I'm committed to working with regions to find solutions that ensure transit projects come to fruition," said Fassbender.

Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore says he doesn't think another referendum is imminent. 

"The way legislation is written, we couldn't go to another referendum until November 2018," he said.

"I know we have a willing partner with provincial government. The mayors are at the table and we need to come together over next six months and find that solution."

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