Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA)

Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA)

July 02, 2015 13:38 ET

Residents of Metro Vancouver Decide Against Tax Increase for Transit

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - July 2, 2015) - The Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) was eager to learn the results of Metro Vancouver's Transportation and Transit Plebiscite. While disappointed with the 'no' outcome, CUTA maintains that Metro Vancouver, like similar large urban centres from coast to coast, requires modern urban transit infrastructure to reduce congestion, stimulate the economy and improve quality of life. The region will need to investigate alternative strategies to fund this critical investment.

"Long-term and predictable funding is essential to building transit infrastructure needed to respond to the population growth and increasing transportation demand", said Patrick Leclerc, President and CEO of CUTA. "While citizens of Metro Vancouver rejected the idea of a sales tax increase, the increasing demand and support for transit clearly demonstrates their understanding of the critical role transit plays in boosting economic growth, increasing productivity and enhancing the quality of life of citizens", added Leclerc.

The plebiscite was on the Mayor's Council proposal to increase the Provincial Sales Tax within Metro Vancouver by 0.5 per cent to support their Transportation and Transit Plan. This small increase would have generated about $250 million in additional revenues per year. The comprehensive plan included a broad range of initiatives such as new and more frequent bus service, improved HandyDART service and an expanded rail system. Furthermore, the Plan included key aspects of integrated urban mobility to provide safer and more viable walking and cycling options. Altogether, these measures would have reduced traffic congestion by an estimated 20 per cent.

According to CUTA, transit infrastructure needs across the country are estimated at $53.5 billion over a five-year period (2014-2018). Seventy-six per cent of these funds are required to expand service capacity and support ridership growth and 24 per cent are needed to rehabilitate or renew existing infrastructure. In addition to traditional funding models, alternative funding tools should be considered. CUTA recently released an exhaustive report on more than two dozen alternative funding mechanisms that can generate new revenues to support public transit and integrated urban mobility. Both reports can be found at

"While the outcome is not the one we were hoping for, the plebiscite has served as a telling reminder of the critical importance of transit and investments that deliver quality of the life for current and future generations", concluded Leclerc.

About CUTA

CUTA is the collective and influential voice of public transportation in Canada, dedicated to being at the centre of urban mobility issues with all orders of government, and delivering the highest value to its members and the communities they serve. CUTA is the national association representing public transit systems, suppliers to the industry, government agencies, individuals and related organizations in Canada.

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    Erin Brophy
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