B.C. Liberals’ dismissal of mayors’ plan to fund transportation with carbon tax is short-sighted, New Democrats say

VANCOUVER – The B.C. Liberal government continues to put up roadblocks as Metro Vancouver mayors put forward a comprehensive vision for transportation in the region, say the New Democrats.

“The minister of transportation’s outright dismissal of the mayors’ plan to use the provincial carbon tax to fund TransLink, is just the latest in a series of obstacles preventing Metro Vancouver’s transportation future from moving ahead,” said New Democrat TransLink critic George Heyman.

“The B.C. Liberal government has delayed and obstructed plans to meet the growing needs of transportation in Metro Vancouver for years, putting mayors in a tough position while commuters have been left sitting in traffic jams, being passed up by buses and goods are being held up on their way to port, costing our economy billions,” said Heyman.

“Now should be the time for them to be constructive and work with mayors before livability deteriorates.”

The mayors’ plan suggests the provincial government reallocate $250 million it collects in existing carbon taxes from Metro residents and businesses to help fund TransLink.

“New Democrats have long proposed that the revenue from the carbon tax be put into green transportation,” said environment critic Spencer Chandra Herbert. “It’s ludicrous that the minister of transportation would reject using this public money to improve transit choices and ease pollution and congestion.”

Heyman noted that the B.C. Liberals have spent years butting heads with the mayors, turning down funding proposals and forcing a transit referendum, and the regional economy and livability in Vancouver has suffered because of it.

“It’s time for the B.C. Liberals to stop putting up roadblocks and work with the mayors constructively to prepare for the transit referendum and plan for the region’s transit future.”