Metro mayors to hike transit fares, property taxes to pay for transit projects

Next phase includes Broadway subway, Surrey LRT and replacement of the Pattullo Bridge

Metro Vancouver mayors and the provincial government have announced how they plan to pay for the second phase of the region’s 10-year transit and transportation plan.

The mayors are going to come up with their share of the $70-billion price tag through increases to parking, transit fares and property taxes.

“This is the kind of investment that every corner of the region will benefit from and with service that is extremely cost effective,” mayors’ council chair Derek Corrigan said Friday.

Big ticket items in Phase Two include the nearly $1.98-billion Broadway subway line in Vancouver and Surrey light-rail, along with the replacement of the Pattullo Bridge.

READ MORE: New Pattullo Bridge expected to open in 2023

“Phase Two plan, together with Phase One plan we announced a little over a year ago, will add 900,000 more hours of bus service per year to our already extensive bus network,” Corrigan added.

“We’re adding almost as much bus service as delivered in total by BC Transit in the rest of the province.”

Daily life to get a little more expensive

The mayors’ council anticipates that $1.6 billion will come from existing fare revenues because of a trend of higher ridership.

That will be complemented with a two-per-cent hike to fares over two years starting in 2020, or about five to 15 cents more for adult and concession transit fares and 1 to 3 dollars more for monthly passes.

Parking at TransLink-operated lots, such as park and ride lots, will go up by about 24 per cent, or about 15 cents more per hour for an average $5-per-hour parking spot.

Beginning in 2019, property taxes will also increase by about $5.50 per average household.

New residential developments could also see a $300- to $600-per-unit increase in development cost charges, depending on the type of dwelling – a step approved by the mayors’ council in December.

Province, feds to fund other 80 per cent

The B.C. NDP government is continuing the previous government’s commitment to fund 40 per cent of the plan, while Ottawa committed in its 2017 to fund the other 40 per cent.

READ MORE: $2.2 billion committed by feds for Metro Vancouver transit

Minister responsible for TransLink Selina Robinson said new legislation will be passed to allow the mayors’ council and TransLink to access the new funding channels.

“At the same time, we’ve also committed to reducing TransLink’s fiscal pressures by $30 million, which will help the region get vital transportation projects underway as soon as possible,” she told reporters.

The timeline for exactly when construction will begin has yet to be confirmed.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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