British Columbia

Victoria Regional Transit Commission wants higher gas tax to pay for more transit

The VRTC wants the tax increase, applicable only to South Vancouver Island, to pay for more bus lanes and expanded service.

Property tax hikes are off the table, so the VRTC says they need some source of new funding

The VRTC wants all municipalities to send in letters indicating they support a gas tax increase to sway the provincial government. (CHEK News)

The Victoria Regional Transit Commission wants motorists to pay more at the gas pump to help improve transit services in the capital region.

The commission has big plans starting in the 2017-2018 budget to improve transit in Greater Victoria, namely more bus lanes and expanded service.

But with property tax hikes now off the table, the VRTC says it needs a way to pay for those improvements.

"We currently get three-and-a-half cents per litre. If we can get an additional two cents, that would provide an additional $6.5 million for us to work with," VRTC commission chair and Saanich councillor Susan Brice told All Points West host Robyn Burns.

Brice says she's confident the province will support the call for a higher gas tax once letters of support from local municipalities show "support from the local community."

She says citizens — including drivers — should support the gas tax increase because "with an expanded transit service, everyone benefits."

"Obviously, many people don't have any options, they need their car … for them it is beneficial in order to prevent congestion on the roads," Brice said.

Brice says if the municipalities don't support the gas tax increase, different options will be considered for service expansion.

​To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Victoria Regional Transit Commission calls for two-cents-a-litre increase on gas tax


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