Don't let Metro Vancouver turn into another Los Angeles, says Surrey Mayor

Post by Daniel Fontaine in

3 comments

diannewatts1.jpg
Watts has come out swinging in support of better transit in Metro Vancouver

A message from Her Worship Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts came into our CityCaucus.com inbox yesterday and we thought we'd share it with our readers. As you can see, the debate over the 2 cents per Litre gas tax has only just begun.

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Let’s make one thing clear: Metro Vancouver Mayors approved a two cent per litre gas tax increase and the money will not be used solely to pay for the Evergreen Line.

The $40 million generated annually will be used to fund a comprehensive, integrated, financially sustainable transportation network that will benefit virtually every single person living in Metro Vancouver, regardless of where they live and what mode of transportation they use. The Evergreen Line is just one component of the plan.

The remaining funding for the plan will come from advertising, naming revenue at SkyTrain stations, road pricing and contributions from development. A property tax increase hasn’t been approved and will only be considered if no other revenue options can be secured.

The regional plan includes:

  • $20 million annually for Major Road Network improvement projects
  • $6 million annually for cycling network infrastructure
  • 200,000 additional transit hours for the South Fraser Region – 425,000 hours region-wide
  • Hwy #1 RapidBus Service from Langley, through Surrey to the Lougheed SkyTrain station
  • A New B-Line service from White Rock to Guildford Town Centre, plus a new bus route from White Rock to Langley serving the Surrey community of Grandview Heights
  • SkyTrain station upgrades and Seabus improvements

The funding formula has been debated for over six years now, and it’s time to move forward.

Over the next two decades, almost a million people will be moving into Metro Vancouver. This will add over 800,000 vehicles to our roads. Do we want gridlock and smog? Do we want our economy to be stuck in traffic? Do we want our region to become Los Angeles?

In order to accommodate the population increase, we must implement an integrated transportation system and move forward with a long-term funding model that will serve our current needs and those of our children and grand children.

It’s been 17 years since Surrey has seen an expansion of rapid transit, despite the fact that our population has more than doubled. Currently, our vast city is so underserved by transit that for most people it’s not a viable option.

We’re developing a plan to create light rail transit (LRT) to connect our town centres with the existing transit infrastructure and reduce the number of vehicles on our roads. But, for the past ten years, the Evergreen Line has been designated as the next priority for the region. So let’s be clear: Surrey and the other communities in the region can’t move forward with their transit projects until the Evergreen Line is built.

Let’s not turn this issue into a political football. Let’s move forward as a region to create connected, productive and livable communities that our children can be proud of.

Sincerely,

 

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts

3 Comments

Over the next two decades, almost a million people will be moving into Metro Vancouver. This will add over 800,000 vehicles to our roads.So she thinks 8 out of 10 will own cars,I guess all that will move here will be adults,and I guess none of these people will find work near to where they live.And I guess there will be a building boom to accommodate all these new arrivals,I imagine they will all be condos built along rail lines,where have I heard this before?And then she adds the scary LA and pollution card.I generally like her but when someone starts with the "its worse than we thought,and oh so urgent" Im a little skeptical.

politicians, especially successful ones, are notorious for saying two contradictory things at the same time.

I do not understand the mayor's main point, and perhaps the contradiction is the reason why. Does she think that the evergreen line deserves to be built first, or does she believe that surrey deserves to have transit built first? I also wonder: who will pay for the street car lines in Surrey. I think that they are a good idea, but Surrey seems to be swimming agianst the LRT tide.

Keep being skeptical sp that you experience greater shock value when things DO become as bad as Mayor Watts predicts if nothing proactive is done.

As for what her point is, she is saying that both the Evergreen Line and expansion in Surrey are needed and not one over the other.

Mayor Watts knows what she is talking about. Too bad others do not.

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