VANCOUVER— The same day that New Democrat leader John Horgan committed to breaking the transportation funding gridlock in Metro Vancouver by increasing the provincial share of capital funding for public transportation improvements to 40 per cent, Premier Christy Clark sent out her minister responsible to say “no” to increased funding and to tell Metro mayors and commuters to “suck it up” and find the money themselves.
After years of delays on transit upgrades, thanks to Christy Clark’s very own failed referendum, her minister for TransLink, Peter Fassbender, shot down the funding proposal on Thursday, and instead said “What they need to do, quite honestly, is to suck it up,” regarding Metro Vancouver Mayors and the people that they represent.
To date, the Christy Clark government has been unclear about how many phases of the 10-year transit plan they will contribute to, and won’t budge on the amount that they will contribute to phase one.
Fassbender questioned how the Horgan proposal would be funded, but media pundits threw that back at the minister, pointing out that the money is there, so it’s just a matter of government choosing its investment priorities. Vaughn Palmer of the Vancouver Sun said on Friday morning, “Fassbender’s government yesterday for the first time built into the budget the full capital cost of the replacement for the Massey Tunnel: $3.5 billion. That is a choice… so is using that money to get rid of portables in Surrey or to add more funding for transit lines.”
John Horgan and the New Democrats are ready to take the lead on Metro Transit and work with the mayors to get this done.