Transit expansion needs cash infusion

Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Blair Lekstrom says “the pot was running dry,” and that was a major factor in the decision by the TransLink Mayors’ Council to raise gas tax by two cents a litre.

Lekstrom was not involved directly in the decision, which was up to the mayors, but he did take part in wide-ranging discussions with local politicians about transit funding. He spent Wednesday finding out firsthand about transportation issues in Langley.

Lekstrom said the additional tax will not only pay for TransLink’s share of the Evergreen Line project, but will also fund a number of transportation improvements in the South Fraser area, including a long-delayed direct buslink between Langley and White Rock.

Lekstrom said all levels of governments have been trying to make do with existing budgets, but expansion of the transit system requires an additional infusion of cash from taxpayers.