What happens when you put 20 mayors at a table? You get 100 different opinions – and nothing actually done.
For years and years, the Lower Mainland mayors have worked on a transportation plan that would bring light rail to Surrey, a SkyTrain subway down the Broadway corridor to Arbutus, and a new Pattullo Bridge. But nothing has been started, let alone opened. Instead, the mayors have stomped their feet and demanded higher taxes to make it happen – even though cities could simply reprioritize a portion of their revenue growth and pay for their share themselves.
Most concerning is the abysmal state of the 80-year-old Pattullo Bridge. The TransLink mayors just will not do what it takes to start a replacement for the bridge, which is literally crumbling. We need this key link replaced with a new, modern bridge that can handle vehicle, truck and bike traffic.
The Pattullo will fail within a few years. Then what? Meanwhile, the mayors are using the removal of tolls from the Port Mann Bridge as an excuse to further delay the Pattullo, claiming they need yet more studies, reviews and consultation with the provincial government.
Surrey light rail, meanwhile, is bogged down in the debate between SkyTrain enthusiasts and light rail proponents. The Arbutus subway is still non-existent. The TransLink Mayors, meanwhile, are demanding the provincial government hand over carbon tax revenue.
The problem isn’t Ottawa or Victoria – those two levels of government are both on record, willing to commit $2.2 billion each to the $7.5 billion Lower Mainland transportation plan. The problem is our mayors, the same group who voted down the Canada Line twice a decade ago. It’s time they reprioritized their city hall, regional district and TransLink spending and put that money toward transportation.
There are thousands of construction jobs on the line.
Let’s #Get2Yes on #GettingBCMoving.