The federal government has taken a major step in its ambitious infrastructure program by signing a funding agreement with British Columbia to move the first block of cash in its multibillion-dollar plan.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Ottawa will spend $460 million in British Columbia to help pay for upgrades to existing transit infrastructure including renovations to aging transit stations and building new bus lanes.
Trudeau said $370 million of that money has been earmarked for transit projects in Metro Vancouver.
“With the province’s and municipalities’ contributions, a total of $934 million will be invested in public transit across the province,” he said Thursday at the SkyTrain operations centre in Burnaby.
“This is just phase one,” Trudeau said. “We are now meeting with provinces and municipalities to develop the second phase of public transit investments to fund major new transit projects that Canadian communities need.”
Premier Christy Clark said the new funding will help fight climate change in the region.
The announcement came a day after a Senate committee warned that none of the $6.8 billion in infrastructure money promised to cities and provinces for transit, green and social infrastructure had flowed because of a lack of funding agreements.
Trudeau, Clark transit deal offers no guarantee for Metro Vancouver riders, says B.C. NDP MLA George Heyman
B.C. NDP MLA George Heyman will concede only as much about the funding agreement announced Thursday (June 16) by Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Liberal Premier Christy Clark for transit in Metro Vancouver.
The deal will provide a total of $740 million for the region over a period of three years. That’s for phase one of the 10-year transportation plan drawn up by mayors in the Lower Mainland.
During this period, the federal government will provide $370 million, while the province and the region will come up with $246 million and $125 million, respectively.
But the Vancouver-Fairview representative noted that the $740 million amount to only 10 percent of the mayors’ plan to invest $7.5 billion in new transit infrastructure for a decade.
These projects include a $2-billion subway in the Broadway corridor of Vancouver, and light rail in Surrey costing about $2.1 billion.
Federal government announces $740m in transit funding
A new SeaBus, shorter wait-times between SkyTrains and station upgrades were some of the promises attached to a multimillion-dollar funding announcement that will make the first phase of the regional mayors’ 10-year transit plan a reality.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, flanked by Premier Christy Clark and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, descended on TransLink’s operations centre in Burnaby for the funding announcement June 16.
“With this federal investment, provinces and municipalities will be able to invest in projects that make the most sense for their communities,” Trudeau said, addressing a packed audience of reporters, transit workers and regional politicians.
In all, there is $740 million on the table from the federal and provincial governments and TransLink to kickstart the mayors’ transit plan. The money will be spent on several items, some of which will benefit Burnaby residents. For instance, 28 new rail cars will be added to the Expo and Millennium lines, meaning more frequent service and less crowding on SkyTrain platforms.