Transit users wait to board a bus at the Langley City bus loop. Part of the Mayors’ Council’s 10-year transportation plan for Metro Vancouver includes a 10 per cent increase in bus service, as well as more frequent service on 50 different routes, five new B-Line routes, and 171 new buses beginning this year. Troy Landreville Langley Times

Metro Van mayors move forward with transportation plan with hopes of curing congestion

Langley’s mayors, Jack Froese and Ted Schaffer, on board with 10-year vision

Langley’s two mayors are on board with a 10-year transportation plan that aims to get Metro Vancouver ‘moving.’

On Jan. 25, Township mayor Jack Froese and City mayor Ted Schaffer were among the Mayors’ Council members who voted unanimously in favour of a motion, brought forward by Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore, resolving that the council “calls on the Province of B.C. to confirm … its partnership in delivering the Phase Two Plan as scheduled, including provincial contribution of a 40 per cent share of capital costs of all projects in the vision.”

During a meeting of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation, the committee voted to reaffirm its intention to forge ahead with its full vision for the region, which includes 27 kilometres of light rail transit in Surrey and a replacement of the Pattullo Bridge.

Froese said Langley residents have already seen the “direct results” of the Phase One Plan. “We’ve seen more frequency (of buses) at the Carvolth exchange, we’ve seen new routes come into Langley — the 208 bus route… those are immediate direct results of the first phase (of the transportation plan).”

• SEE RELATED STORY

As part of the 10-year plan, the following improvements are expected to be rolled out between now and 2026:

• A 10 per cent increase in bus service, as well as more frequent service on 50 different routes, five new B-Line routes on Fraser Highway, Lougheed Highway, Marine Drive, 41st Avenue, and Hastings Street, and 171 new buses beginning this year;

• 15 per cent increase in HandyDART service, to the tune of 85,000 new available trips annually;

• New funding for improvements to the Major Road Network, and;

• Expansion and improvements to the cycling and walking networks in the region.

The council was broken into four committees, said Schaffer, who sat on the planning committee.

“What we’re doing is looking at the areas, and the Langleys and Surrey are very much at the forefront because of the growth that’s happening,” Schaffer said.

“I think everybody around the table recognizes the need for transportation around here but at the end of the day, who’s going to pay for it and how is it going to get paid for?”

The federal government has already committed to fund 40 per cent of the project, and if the province affirms it will pay for 40 per cent, that will leave the mayors with a 20 per cent gap to fill.

In a summer 2015 referendum, Metro Vancouver voters rejected a 0.5 per cent Congestion Improvement Tax. If the tax went through, the money would have gone towards a plan to improve public transit services and transportation infrastructure in the Lower Mainland over a 10-year period.

“The plan still exists and we have to now look for other ways to fund it,” Froese explained.

Schaffer said the mayors don’t want to increase property taxes to complete the funding for Phase Two of the plan, “and so there are only so many options left.”

“Road pricing is just another way of tolling, so then you have to look at all your options,” Schaffer. “From my perspective, the longer we wait, the more expensive it’s going to get.”

“It’s up to the province on what they are going to trigger,” in helping fund Phase Two, said Froese.

So where is the funding going to come from?

“That’s the billion dollar question,” Schaffer said.

Schaffer believes light rail is a sensible, affordable solution.

“Light rail is a billion dollars cheaper than the SkyTrain to build,” he said.

“You’d need a train of buses to move the same volume of people,” Schaffer said. “As a main transportation corridor, you have to have a rail system in place. I believe it will happen. My hope is that light rail will come to Langley City within the mayors’ 10-year vision.”

“It all hinges on funding,” Froese said. “If everything goes according to the plan, we’d see (light) rail (transit in Langley) in 10 years, but it really boils down to the appetite of the provincial government to legislate the changes that are needed to pay for this.”

Froese said rail is “certainly an option that people will use.”

Just Posted

UPDATE: 10-20 cm of snow expected Friday in Lower Mainland

Snowfall warning in effect from North Shore mountains out to Hope

VIDEO: Flames consume small building at Langley Events Centre

Thursday afternoon demo shows the importance of having sprinklers installed

Langley program helps youth find their employment niche

The first session of Skills to Success youth employment program wrapped up and a second has started.

Charges laid in 2016 Mission crash that killed Langley teenager

Lidia Ramos died when the car she was riding in slipped off a logging road in heavy rain

Two Langley fire trucks collide on black ice

The fire trucks were being used to block vehicles from icy hill when they started sliding

B.C. Games open with Olympic touch

The 2018 B.C. Winter Games kicked off in Kamloops

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Kelowna skier Kesley Serwa adds to Canada’s gold medals

Despite losses in men’s hockey and curling, Canadian women won medals in ski cross and figure skating

5 to start your day

Up to 20 cm of snow expected in parts of Lower Mainland, possible bridge lane closures, and more

Suspected serial killer targeting Toronto gay community now faces six murder charges

Bruce McArthur now charged with murders of six men: Toronto police

Trump suggests more guns in schools to combat shootings

Trump floats two-step plan for gun control: More guns, more control

Second Russian athlete tests positive for doping at Olympics

Russian Bobsled Federation states a drug-test sample that pilot Nadezhda Sergeeva gave on Sunday was positive.

Indigenous leaders call for change after ‘system fails’ Tina Fontaine

‘All of us should be ashamed’: Calls for change after jury finds Raymond Cormier not guilty

Atwal fiasco dogs Trudeau; PM pledges a ‘conversation’ with MP responsible

Trudeau is being peppered with questions about the lingering controversy

Germany upsets Canada in Olympic men’s hockey

Germany 4 Canada 3; Germans play OAR for gold; Canada and Czechs go for bronze

Most Read