Chair Derek Corrigan, left, and executive director Michael Buda, right, speak at a Mayors’ Council meeting in New Westminster on Thursday. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

Corrigan ‘confident’ B.C. budget will help mayors fill 15% transportation funding gap

Council needs to $60-70 million in annual cash by March to avoid extra costs

Metro Vancouver mayors have identified a 15-per-cent funding gap in the current phase of their 10-year vision for regional transportation, but Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan says he’s confident the province will help in next week’s budget.

Tuesday’s Throne Speech painted in broad strokes the government’s upcoming spending plans with a focus on housing and childcare, but made little mention of the region’s transportation funding woes.

Reading the government’s plan, however, Lt. Gov. Judith Guichon did refer to the 81-year-old Pattullo Bridge, saying the government is “moving quickly” to replace it.

The aging bridge is one of the many projects in the vision’s second phase for which mayors have struggled with how to pay, especially since the NDP nixed bridge tolls back in September.

Corrigan, the new chair of the mayors’ council on transportation, suggested at the council’s meeting on Thursday that the province might be looking at other funding methods.

“[Municipal Affairs Minister] Selina Robinson phoned me personally yesterday to assure me that even though the Pattullo was specifically mentioned, that did not mean that there was any less intent to solve the problems in regard to TransLink and moving the mayors’ vision ahead.”

The federal and provincial governments will each contribute 40 per cent to projects in the plan’s second phase, which includes a new Pattullo bridge, the construction of Surrey light rail, and upgrades to the Millennium and Expo SkyTrain lines.

READ: Delta’s mayor fights for light rail out to Chilliwack

TransLink’s share is 30 per cent of the capital costs and all of the operational costs. The mayors’ options to raise this include increasing property taxes, gas taxes and parking taxes, and creating vehicle levies.

So far, they’ve confirmed just over half – about $130 million a year – leaving a hole of about $60-70 million a year.

What’s more, Corrigan added the mayors would need to move quickly to approve a plan ahead of a self-imposed July deadline, so as to avoid a $10-million-a-month inflationary cost.

If the 15-per-cent hole can’t be filled, mayors’ council executive director Mike Buda said three options remain: cut costs by reducing the scope of the plan, stretch it over more than 10 years, or delay phase two until 2019 or later.

An independent commission set up by the mayors’ council to look into mobility pricing is currently studying two options: distance-based charges and congestion point charges. But Corrigan said any such solution would take years to implement.


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Prince George demolishes Chilliwack to take commanding 3-0 series lead

The Spruce Kings won 8-0 at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena and can eliminate the Chiefs in game four

Grey tubs for glass recycling arriving across Chilliwack

Rinse and remove all food remnants from jars and bottles before placing them in the grey bins

All-American accolades for Chilliwack Spartans swim club grad

Jessie Gibson helped SFU’s women’s team reach an all-time high at NCAA Div-II nationals.

Family-friendly heron tours planned at Chilliwack’s nature reserve

Stretch your legs as you watch the herons return to their colony, March 22 and 23

One of the biggest cow shows in Canada is coming back to the ‘Wack

Prize money totalling $240,000 is up for grabs at the spring show Friday at Chilliwack Heritage Park

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

Horvat scores 16 seconds into OT as Canucks beat Blackhawks 3-2

Pettersson sets rookie scoring record for Vancouver

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Accused Surrey transit cop shooter’s bail hearing set for April

Daon Gordon Glasgow, 35, is accused of shooting Transit Police Constable Josh Harms, 27

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Watchdog called after man who yelled racial slurs at B.C. vigil hurt during arrest

BC RCMP say man was ‘acting suspiciously’ at prayer vigil for victims of New Zealand mosque shootings

Most Read