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NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
2010PREM0169-001129

Sept. 23, 2010

Office of the Premier
Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation

 

 

PROVINCE, MAYORS SIGN REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION AGREEMENT

 

COQUITLAM – The Province of British Columbia and the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation have signed a livable cities agreement that will provide a long-term strategy to create a sustainable transportation network in Metro Vancouver.

 

“Today we are reaffirming our commitment to the people of Metro Vancouver that their mayors and the provincial government will collaborate closely to keep people, goods and services moving quickly and efficiently, with minimal impact on our environment,” said Premier Gordon Campbell. “We’ve done a great job working together on key infrastructure priorities in the region, such as the Canada Line and other transportation expansions. This agreement builds on that success and will help us move forward with other projects like the Evergreen Line.”

 

The Livable Cities Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) formalizes and builds on the existing collaborative relationship between the Province and the Mayors’ Council on transportation matters and recognizes the importance of creating a sustainable and affordable network in the region.

 

The Province and Mayors’ Council commit to the development of a long term, sustainable funding strategy that makes the most of TransLink’s available revenue sources as well as finding innovative ways to generate revenue, such as using the increase in property values along rapid transit corridors to support future projects.

 

“Together we’re creating a transportation system that encourages people to take transit, rather than drive their cars, leading to less traffic congestion and fewer greenhouse gas emissions,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Shirley Bond. “An efficient, affordable and reliable public transportation system is an essential component of a livable region.”

 

The MOU also supports Metro Vancouver’s Livable Region Strategic Plan, helping to maintain regional livability and protect the environment as the region grows. In 2001, the population of the Vancouver region reached two million and, at current growth rates, is expected to reach 2.7 million by 2021.

 

“This agreement forms the foundation of a new dialogue to sustainably plan, fund, and deliver a world-class transportation system in the region,” said Peter Fassbender, mayor of the City of Langley and chair of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation. “A strong working relationship between the Province and all the municipalities in the region is critical to achieving the transportation system we need in order to grow and prosper sustainably.”

 

The MOU will also help support the region and TransLink to expand services and infrastructure to meet Provincial Transit Plan goals, a strategy to double transit ridership and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation sources by 4.7 million tonnes, all by 2020.

 

Through the Provincial Transit Plan, the Province has committed more than $700 million to transit in Metro Vancouver since 2008 and will invest $4.2 billion by 2020.

 

            One of the projects funded through the Provincial Transit Plan is the Evergreen Line - a major transit project currently underway in Metro Vancouver. The $1.4-billion rapid transit line will seamlessly connect commuters to the current SkyTrain network, as well as integrate with regional bus service and West Coast Express. Construction on the Evergreen Line is on track to begin in early 2011 and finish by the end of 2014.  

 

The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation appoints the Board of Directors for TransLink and the Commissioner. It approves plans prepared by TransLink, including the transportation plan, regional funding and borrowing limits. The council represents 21 municipalities and the Tsawwassen First Nation.

 

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A backgrounder follows.

 

Media Contacts:

 

Dale Steeves

Director of Communications

Office of the Premier

250 361-7783

 

Jeff Knight

Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure

250 356-7707

 

Shafiq Jamal

Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation

Hoggan & Associates

604 742-4269


 

BACKGROUNDER

For Immediate Release
2010PREM0169-001129

Sept. 23, 2010

Office of the Premier
Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation

 

 

 

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING

BEWEEN THE PROVINCE AND

THE MAYORS’ COUNCIL ON REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION

 

A.        The Province of British Columbia  and municipal governments in the Metro Vancouver area are committed to developing a long term strategy for promoting “Livable Cities” in the region that are designed for sustainable growth and British Columbians’ needs in the 21st Century;

And

B.        “Livable Cities” will require new and innovative policies that integrate a wide variety of federal, provincial, regional and local initiatives and policies that ensure the achievement of this overall goal;

And

C.        Efficient, affordable, carbon smart transportation infrastructure and services are an integral part of a “livable city” strategy that aspires to help plan for as well as  shape population growth in new ways that create cleaner, safer, healthier communities and the efficient movement of people, goods and services;

And

D.        The combined resources of senior governments together with that of Metro Vancouver’s 21 municipalities are required to sustain and support the development of a transportation system that efficiently integrates the movement of people and goods across the entire region.  This will be done at the lowest cost possible for taxpayers within a comprehensive network that will:

 

·         Support environmentally sustainable cities with healthy populations and growing economies.

·         Provide a gateway for international commerce for Canada.

·         Foster lower carbon emissions, better air quality, reduced traffic congestion, and more convenient travel options.

·         Encourage relatively lower housing costs, more affordable housing, and new municipal infrastructure and services;

And

E.         The Province, the Mayors’ Council, and TransLink wish to work together to achieve the following goals represented in the transportation plans of the Province and TransLink, and the goals of the proposed Metro Vancouver “Livable Region Strategy” all of which have been broadly embraced by the public, stakeholders, and governments:

·         Provide efficient, reliable, carbon reduced transit that contributes to the majority of trips made by public transit, walking, and biking; all allowing and encouraging people to reduce dependence on their vehicles, especially single occupancy trips, and offering healthy lifestyle choices.

·         Aggressively reduce GHG emissions and air contaminants from transportation to assist the province and municipalities in meeting their GHG and clean air targets.

·         Support population and employment density near transit hubs and along transit corridors, so the majority of jobs and housing are located along a frequent transit network, a network that needs to expand to accommodate existing needs/priorities and to shape sustainable future growth.

·         Promote vibrant neighbourhoods and communities that are more responsive to modern needs, including new demands for affordable housing, appropriate health services, as well as “green” residential and commercial development. 

·         Provide safe, secure, accessible and affordable travel for the region’s population;

·         Facilitate economic growth, productivity gains, and international trade through the efficient and effective management of the transportation network.

·         Ensure that operating costs will be controlled by making use of existing administration and/or infrastructure systems in support of new revenue sources whenever possible rather than developing new ones;

And

F.         TransLink requires access to sufficient and stable long-term funding, for both capital and operating requirements, to help achieve these goals and change behaviours which will help shape transportation choices in the future. 

 

NOW THEREFORE, the parties set out in this memorandum agree:

 

1.         To work together in a cooperative and collaborative way to address the goals of “Livable Cities”, including the development of a long term, sustainable funding strategy that maximizes TransLink’s available revenue sources and invites open and ongoing dialogue between the parties on potential new funding solutions.

 

2.         That transportation planning is a key component of successful livable cities and should include principles as listed below:

 

a.   Investments in transit should be appropriate to support higher population densities that are designed to best utilize land at the lowest cost possible for taxpayers and the environment.

b.   Transportation planning should be an integral component of community planning.

c.   Communities should be developed to encourage alternatives to vehicle traffic, with direct emphasis on pedestrian, cycling and transit.

d.   Transit investments must be justified through a comprehensive business case which considers all factors including; ridership, expenses and revenue sources to name a few.

e.   Transportation Demand Management principles should be developed that will assist in the achievement of the overall transportation goals.

f.    Transit and road and bridge improvements need to be coordinated and implemented in a timely and expedited fashion to support the success of TransLink’s 2040, the Provincial Transit Pacific Gateway and other Provincial plans that will help stimulate growth and job creation.

 

3.         To recognize that any strategy for livable cities with a viable long-term transportation plan will anticipate open dialogue on transportation funding sources that may include, but not be limited to, the items listed below:  

 

a.   Funding sources included in current and future legislative authority.

b.   Reallocation of existing revenue sources.

c.   Potential new and innovative revenue sources that will shape transportation choices in favour of transit, cycling and walking, as well as greenhouse gas emission reductions.

d.   A means of capturing some of the increase in land value created by the provision of rapid transit along the region’s strategic corridors.

e.   Other revenue generating activities that take advantage of the market created by transit users.

f.    Efficient and effective use of “Smart Card” technology to increase ridership beyond peak periods, improve efficiencies (reduce operating costs and increase the productivity of the transit fleets), reduce fare evasion and in general, generate greater fare revenue (user pay).

 

4.         To recognize that BC has a significant comparative advantage in generating clean and green renewable electricity that could be used to reduce the carbon footprint of the transportation sector in the region.

 

5.         To continue to engage the Federal Government in ongoing discussions on funding support, including future capital contributions for new transit and transportation infrastructure and/or the potential reallocation of existing funding (i.e. federal fuel tax).

 

6.         To review existing regulatory and policy frameworks to enhance the achievement of provincial, regional or local transportation goals as listed below:

 

a.   Joint review of planning and engineering of municipal and provincial arterial roads to ensure safety and efficiency in operations.

b.   Review of procurement practices related to transit and road and bridge projects to ensure transparency, value and appropriate structure.

c.   Review of contracting process to ensure innovation in contracting methods including components of financing, design and standardized contract language.

d.   Efficient methods of obtaining appropriate zoning on publicly owned holdings to maximize benefits and minimize taxpayer or user costs.

 

7.         To review best practices from other jurisdictions and seek expert advice to help develop a “Made in BC” solution.

 

8.         To leverage existing processes including the Steering Committee, Joint Technical Committee and any other appropriate new mechanisms to ensure follow-up to this MOU.

 

9.         To consult with a wide and diverse list of public and private stakeholders in order to ensure maximum acceptance of the outcome of the deliberations undertaken by the parties under this MOU.

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