B.C. Liberals continue delay instead of leadership on TransLink

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VANCOUVER – The B.C. Liberals continue to offer delays instead of leadership when it comes to addressing transit needs and road congestion in Metro Vancouver, say New Democrats.

“The minister of transportation continues to shirk his responsibility to work collaboratively with regional mayors on funding options for the clearly identified needs in Metro Vancouver’s transportation system,” said TransLink critic George Heyman.

The minister announced today that if the mayors provide a clear vision for TransLink by June 2014, then the referendum will be held by June 2015.

If the mayors fail to provide a plan by that time, the referendum will be pushed to November 2017. Heyman said that could be interpreted as a threat to Metro communities coupled with an unreasonable demand for fully costed priorities within four months – a test the Liberal government itself has failed to meet on any number of project proposals.

“Minister Stone’s insistence on a referendum in the first place added additional delay to much-needed transit improvements throughout the region. Now these critical decisions around meeting current plans, like additional bus service hours, in the face of a funding shortfall will be further delayed. Commuters are left sitting in traffic jams and goods are held up on their way to port, costing our economy billions.”

Heyman noted that while the minister committed to granting the Mayor’s Council some limited additional power over TransLink planning and strategy, he has repeatedly dismissed their proposals and opposition to the referendum and failed to work with them on a fair and equitable funding plan for the region’s transit future.