British Columbia

Conservative platform threatens transportation projects in Metro Vancouver, says mayor

The Conservative Party released their costed platform Friday and the chair of the TransLink Mayor's Council — who is also mayor of New Westminster — is disappointed over what it could mean for Metro Vancouver's major transit projects. 

Future SkyTrain extensions could be in stalled, says New Westminster mayor

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer addresses the media following the unveiling of his party's costed platform in Tsawwassen, B.C., on Friday. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

The Conservative Party released its costed platform Friday and the chair of the TransLink Mayor's Council is disappointed over what that could mean for Metro Vancouver's major transit projects. 

The party plans to spend $187 billion in infrastructure funding over 15 years instead of the 12 years previously promised by the Liberal government. The goal is to help balance the federal budget in five years. 

"We're going to respect all existing projects that have already been signed off on. We're going to see those through," Conservative Party Leader Andrews Scheer said at a press conference in Tsawwassen, B.C., south of Vancouver on Friday. 

"And we're going to put in place a responsible plan that actually gets money out the door and shovels in the ground."

New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote is chair of the TransLink Mayor's Council. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

At the same time, Scheer promises money will be put toward a replacement for the Massey Tunnel, which is not yet a signed-off project. New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote, chair of the TransLink Mayor's Council,  is concerned there won't be money left over for TransLink priorities in cases where funding hasn't already been committed.

Two examples are the proposed Millennium Line extension to the University of British Columbia and the Expo Line extension to Langley City.

"This type of platform ultimately is going to put those projects at risk, and may delay them indefinitely," says Cote. 

The proposed Millennium Line extension from Arbutus to the University of British Columbia is supported by mayors in Metro Vancouver, but doesn't yet have government funding. (University of British Columbia)

Now that all party platforms have been announced, Cote says Metro Vancouver will be releasing its voting guides outlining where the four major parties stand on regional transportation issues. He says the Conservative Party's position is the most disappointing.

"I think having cuts to infrastructure investment into cities is a bit short-sighted," Cote said. "We're disappointed that one of the major parties hasn't seen the value in investing in public transit in the region."

With files from Justin Mcelroy


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