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

Aldergrove car-jacking suspect arrested

Man had ordered 70-year-old pastor’s wife to get out of their truck

Judge rules against ALC on rural Langley subdivision

The ALC can’t change the definition of an acre, the judge ruled.

Crash blocks half of 200th Street in Langley City

Police and firefighters were on scene Thursday.

Langley knitters stickhandle poppy project to help legion

Some local women knitted poppies and donated the proceeds to Langley’s legion.

Friends describe murder victim as ‘most caring guy we knew’

Jagvir Malhi of Abbotsford was not involved in gangs or criminal activity, they say

VIDEO: People with diabetes meet their alert dogs

A diabetic alert dog is trained to detect low blood sugar in people who have Type 1 diabetes

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

Metro Vancouver mayors cancel Surrey LRT in favour of SkyTrain

TransLink will immediately suspend work on light rail

Lower Mainland couple missing in Thompson-Okanagan area

Barriere RCMP received a missing persons report for two senior overdue travellers

Vancouver Warriors cancel first 2 weeks of season as labour dispute continues

The announcement means games scheduled for Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 will no longer be played

B.C. Realtor suspended after helping intern forge note about sick grandma

Vancouver real estate agent Jaideep Singh Puri has to pay fine, take ethics course

Offensive Facebook post by Okanagan Conservative riding sparks outrage

Post taken down after Conservative MP in neighbouring riding condemns it and demands removal

Judge rules against ALC on rural B.C. subdivision

The ALC can’t change the definition of an acre, the judge ruled.

John Horgan shrugs off low turnout, change to referendum option

‘No’ proportional representation group says voting should be extended

Most Read