Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation

June 30, 2009 16:30 ET

Mayors' Council, Business, Environment and Labour Leaders Sign Regional Transportation Accord

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - June 30, 2009) - Business, environment and labour leaders joined The Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation today in calling on all levels of government to develop a Transportation Improvement Funding Policy that will allow Metro Vancouver to achieve a fully integrated transportation system that is environmentally and economically sustainable.

A forum, hosted by the Mayors' Council, comprised stakeholders including John Winter of the BC Chamber of Commerce, Dr. David Suzuki of the David Suzuki Foundation and Jim Sinclair of the BC Federation of Labour. Representative parties signed the Regional Transportation Accord calling on all three levels of government and TransLink to work together to find solutions to achieve adequate funding.

"We must look at a range of funding mechanisms beyond existing revenue sources for funding," said Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts, Chair of the Mayors' Council, the group whose responsibility it is to approve or decline TransLink's proposed additions to its budget. "We convened this forum to check in with the views of business, environment and labour stakeholders." Watts continued, "We heard that all three levels of government must get to the table in order to establish a Transportation Improvement Funding Policy that specifically addresses the movement of people, goods and services."

The Accord supports the provincial government's Transportation Plan as it relates to TransLink's 2040 Plan and calls for additional and sustainable funding up to $450 million annually for its implementation and operation.

"While the BC Chamber represents businesses of every size, of every sector in every region of the province, we recognize that the current congestion in Metro Vancouver is having a negative impact on the ability to move people, goods and services that are inherent in a healthy, robust economy," said John Winter. "We need to ensure that we have the ongoing funding in place to support a long term transportation plan that supports growth in the region and province."

"The BC Chamber remains committed to providing our input to all parties to find the appropriate solutions."

Dr. Suzuki added, "Transportation is the number one source of greenhouse gas pollution in this region. We need new thinking about how we pay for the system we all know we need. It's high time all levels of government worked together to build healthy communities and a healthier planet."

Jim Sinclair of the BC Federation of Labour stated, "A properly funded provincial transportation plan will lead to more jobs and more opportunities for British Columbians and, in the Metro region, will ensure the effective movement of people, goods and services."

Forum participants recognize the need for immediate progress in the development of a Transportation Improvement Funding Policy which will ensure that Metro-Vancouver remains a liveable, sustainable region, with low greenhouse gas emissions, supported by environmentally sound policies.

"We look forward to working with the other levels of government," Watts stated. "The Mayors' Council is ready to sit down with them and develop the needed funding policy, but we have to act quickly."

The TransLink 10-year plan will be submitted to the Board of Directors in July and sent to the Mayors' Council in October. For more information on TransLink's 2040 Plan go to www.bepartoftheplan.ca.

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