TransLink needs $21 billion to fund its 10-year plan for busing and SkyTrain and Port Coquitlam's mayor is hopeful that the money will come with intensive lobbying from Greater Vancouver mayors.
Affordable, adequate transit is a "quality of life issue," said Mayor Brad West, who is the new chair of the Mayor's Council, TransLink’s governance body made up of the region’s mayors.
"If people want more time to spend with family and doing things they want to do — and to spend less time sitting in congestion —then we need funding," said West, who was nominated by Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim for the job previously held by former New Westminster mayor Johnathan Cote.
How to pay for more transit?
West won the post by acclamation, becoming the first Tri-City mayor to take on the role.
West told the Tri-City News he will be advocating for more transit for the northeast and will be working with the other regional mayors to obtain funding from senior levels of government for the 10-year-plan approved in June.
With the federal government approving 500,000 new immigrants to Canada, and many expected to move to the Lower Mainland, West said improved transportation is necessary to preserve the environmental, quality of life and the economy.
"All the things that the government at high levels talks about, transit and transportation are really foundation all to all of those," West said.
Mayor's council a 'united voice'
Known for being outspoken on issues close to him, West acknowledged it will take more than a press release and a letter to get noticed among the many demands for federal and provincial funding.
But he's hopeful that having a "united voice" among the mayors, all working on the same goals, will help get the message across.
"Metro Vancouver is growing and if our transportation system does not keep pace, and is behind, if we fall further behind, we risk the livability of our region and we risk the economic property of our region," West said.
"There are really consequences of not getting this right."
Mayor West said he expects to raise Port Coquitlam transportation issues during his one-year term because he understands the problems even as he works on transportation concerns for the entire region.
"Part of my job will be to tell that story and connect the dots about why this is important."
Mayors' Transport 2050: 10-Year Priorities
- Up to nine new traffic-separated Bus Rapid Transit lines
- More than doubling bus service over 2022 levels
- Building the Burnaby Mountain Gondola to Simon Fraser University
- Extending the Millennium Line from Arbutus to the University of British Columbia
- Increasing HandyDART service by 60 per cent and providing 24-hour service
- Immediately advancing a business case to determine the best rapid transit technology on the Metrotown to Park Royal corridor, while delivering better bus service in the short term
- Exploring other potential SkyTrain extensions, including to Newton in Surrey and to Port Coquitlam
- Building 450 kilometres of new traffic-separated cycling paths including bike networks in every Metro Vancouver Urban Centre
- Introducing 200 new bike lockers and six new bike parkades
- Increasing SeaBus service start and end times to match SkyTrain’s service hours