Six members of the Metro Vancouver Mayors’ Council were in Ottawa on Tuesday to call for federal funding to ease traffic congestion in the region.
“Now is the stage they are starting to look at what are the ideas they want to advance in the upcoming federal election,” Jonathan Cote, council chair and mayor of New Westminster, told Black Press Media by phone.
Good morning from #Ottawa! Metro Vancouver mayors are here with @FCM_online calling for a Congestion Relief Fund to ensure Metro Vancouver can continue to prosper and grow 🚄🚌 #CureCongestion #cdnpoli #vanpoli https://t.co/a9Tjfc8K9i pic.twitter.com/WOzReOyBKq
— Mayors' Council (@mayors_council) May 7, 2019
The council joins the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in asking the federal government for permanent funding to allow TransLink to complete new projects.
Cote said his group met with members from all the parties, including NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Party leader Elizabeth May, and got a positive response.
“Although transportation isn’t typically a federal election issue, we want to get the ear [of] the parties now so they can start thinking about what they might be saying and putting into their platforms.”
The mayors’ council has been on the hunt to fund several much-needed transportation and transit projects in the region, such a new Pattullo Bridge, better SkyTrain and bus service, a Broadway subway line in Vancouver, and a Surrey-area rapid transit extension, from all levels of government.
The group has said one million more commuters are expected on public transit in Metro Vancouver in the next 20 years.
In its latest budget earlier this year, the Trudeau government doubled the gas tax fund, which sends money directly to municipalities each year to help cover the costs of work on roads, bridges, and other local infrastructure needs. TransLink estimates it will potentially provide B.C. with $130 million for transit projects.