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

A by-invitation meet-and-greet for Langley Township candidates

Man behind event also organized federal Conservative Party leadership debate in Langley

ELECTION 2018: Val van den Broek is in it to win it

One-term Langley City councillor runs for mayor

Driver of pickup stolen from Langley crashes into car in Abbotsford

No serious injuries in collision on Monday night

North Langley Kodiaks defense dominates in Victoria victory

Five separate Kodiaks players scored touchdowns during lopsided win

Traffic lights going up on accident-prone 16 Avenue in Langley

Work is underway on safety improvements at three intersections along route

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

Kim agrees to dismantle main nuke site if US takes steps too

Kim promised to accept international inspectors to monitor the closing of a key missile test site and launch pad and to visit Seoul soon.

Dozens speak at Vancouver hearing that could see duplexes replace single homes

The city clerk says 73 people signed up to speak at the hearing that began early Tuesday evening and adjourned hours later with 34 speakers still waiting.

North Carolina gov pleads with storm evacuees to be patient

The death toll rose to at least 37 in three states Tuesday, with 27 fatalities in North Carolina.

Possible shooting on Abbotsford street near Aldergrove

Witnesses report what sounded like 4 shots fired Tuesday evening, but that has not been confirmed

North and South Korea say they plan to bid for 2032 Olympics

Moon and Kim announced a sweeping set of agreements including a vow to work together to host the Summer Olympics in 2032.

Russia’s reinstatement after doping scandal goes to a vote

The World Anti-Doping Agency is due to vote Thursday Sept. 20, 2018, on possible reinstatement of Russia.

Ontario wins stay on ruling that struck down council-cutting plan

The province had argued the stay was necessary to eliminate uncertainty surrounding the Oct. 22 vote, and the Court of Appeal agreed.

B.C. cannabis producer Tilray hits at $20-billion high as stock price explodes

This is the first export of a cannabis product from a Canadian company to the U.S.

Most Read