B.C. needs to find $175M for Evergreen transit plan - Metro US

B.C. needs to find $175M for Evergreen transit plan

The province needs to come up with $175 million if its ambitious long-term transportation plan — which includes the construction of the Evergreen Line — can be implemented, TransLink said on Thursday.

The transit authority has presented local mayors with three potential transportation plans based on various levels of funding.

Depending on the plans, it could mean a 3 per cent increase to fuel taxes, a vehicle levy of up to $165 and a 7 per cent increase in transit fare revenue above the rate of inflation.

The base plan, which requires no extra funding, would mean “drastic cuts,” including a 40 per cent reduction of bus service and a halt to station upgrades, said TransLink CEO Tom Prendergast.

The second plan, which Prendergast called the “fall back option,” essentially maintains the system at status quo at $260 million.

What TransLink is hoping for is a third scenario, which requires $450 million in funding and would allow for maintenance and upgrades, and the construction of the Evergreen Line, rapid transit expansion down Broadway and through Surrey, as well as 300 new buses.

“It’s not a matter of (if) we have to do this, it’s a matter of when,” said Prendergast. “This is an issue of livability for the region at large and staying ahead of (growth).”

Of the $450 million needed to implement the third plan, only $275 million is currently available. The province would have to come up with an additional $175 million.

Should that fall through, TransLink is offering a scaled-back version of the plan, which would provide $275 million for maintenance and upgrades, only.

Dale Parker, chair of TransLink, said he realizes people are “thinking paycheque-to-paycheque,” but believes these investments will pay off down the road.

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