TransLink has now released its ten year “investment” plan on what key investments will be made in Metro Vancouver as well as the details on how these services and initiatives will be funded. A ten year plan on investment must be prepared every three years and does go to the Metro Vancouver Mayors’ Council for approval.
Once it is approved by the Mayors’ Council it becomes the strategic directive on how the bigger Regional Transportation Strategy will be implemented.
Earlier this year Viewpoint Vancouver wrote on the Regional Transportation Strategy that is reviewed every five years. The strategy is organized in the same way as the 2050 Regional Plan looking at economic and environment indicators as well as emissions.
Adopted in January 2022, the regional transportation goals are to create convenient, reliable, affordable, safe & comfortable, and carbon-free public transit. That would be accomplished by increasing the rapid transit network from 100 to 400 kilometers, completing a comprehensive 850 kilometer bike network, and providing more frequent transit with shorter distances to people’s homes.
Key to the just release investment plan is keeping the current SkyTrain service levels, increasing HandyDART services, undertaking road upgrades and building more walking and cycling routes across Metro Vancouver. More specifically bus priority infrastructure will be built on roads and the region will pony up the share to link the Surrey Langley SkyTrain from Fleetwood to Langley.
To address climate change, 462 battery-electric buses will be in operation. Current road cost sharing programs will be available to municipalities to expand walking and biking networks.
You can take a look here to see the specific items that are being considered, and there is a survey and a project heat map showing what investments are proposed geographically. Over 170 kilometers of rapid transit route is proposed, as well as the Burnaby Mountain Gondola and the Millennium Line extension out to the University of British Columbia.
All of this of course comes with a cost which is estimated at 52 million dollars over the next three years.
There has been much discussion on how this would be funded especially as the TransLink levy collected in the vehicle gas tax will diminish with the transition to electric vehicles. In this Investment Plan Translink proposes new annual revenue sources, with an estimated 23 million dollars to be collected from real estate development and carbon credits. A further 29 million dollars will be collected from a proposed 1.15 percent “annual” increase to property tax. TransLink suggests that for the region that would be an “average” increase of three dollars per property starting next year.
This is an ambitious plan and assumes that Metro Vancouver is ready to make the needed shift for sustainability towards investing in and using public transit, and mindfully considering more active ways to travel locally.
You can find out more details by reading the TransLink discussion guide here.
You can fill out the informative questionnaire provided by TransLink here. This link is available for comment until May 4.
The Investment Plan will then be forwarded to the Mayors’ Council for discussion and approval, and the Regional Transportation Strategy will be approved following the Investment Plan.