British Columbia

TransLink CEO confirms expansion plans on hold

TransLink's CEO confirms all future expansion plans for the Metro Vancouver transit system are on hold, but says the Evergreen Line will still go ahead.

Evergreen Line will still go ahead

The new Evergreen Line will go ahead, but TransLink says many of its other transit plans are on hold until funding is in place. (CBC)

The head of TransLink has confirmed all future expansion plans for the Metro Vancouver transit system are being halted, but the Evergreen Line will still go ahead.

CEO Ian Jarvis says the move will affect planned transit service improvements south of the Fraser, including the rapid bus service over the new Port Mann Bridge, another down King George Boulevard in Surrey and 600,000 hours of additional service.

"The prudent thing to do is to place those things on hold until we have the funding in place," Jarvis said Tuesday morning.

But some plans that already have funding in place, such as the construction of the new Evergreen Line, increased bus service in White Rock and planning to replace the Patullo Bridge will go ahead.

Jarvis said he supports efforts by the provincial government to find efficiencies to pay for the expansion with an upcoming audit, but the province and the region's mayors will need to continue to work towards finding the money to pay for the other improvements.

"To rely on cost savings in the future is not fiscally sound," he said.

The announcement follows a series of recent decisions that have left TransLink with a $30-million funding shortfall.

Last week, TransLink Commissioner Martin Crilly rejected an application to raise Lower Mainland transit fares by up to 12.5 per cent.

The regional mayors' council also voted recently to reject a two-year plan to hike property taxes to pay for the expansion plans. The move came after Premier Christy Clark rejected alternate suggestions for funding such a tolls and vehicle levies, and ordered a provincial audit to find efficiencies instead.