Opinion: Burnaby gondola ‘at risk of delay’, says Mayors’ Council

Chris Campbell

As far as federal election news releases go, this one showed great restraint.

The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation today released its Cure Congestion Federal Election Voters’ Guide, “summarizing commitments to transit and transportation from the Conservative Party, Green Party, Liberal Party and New Democratic Party.”

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When you cut through it all, the Mayors’ Council made it clear that the Greens, Liberals and NDP are far more committed to “permanent” transit funding than the Conservatives – without actually criticizing anyone.

Take, for example, this quote from New West Mayor Jonathan Cote - it draws a line to one party without being overly critical.

“While we had hoped that all parties would recognize the importance of making federal funding for transit permanent, we’re pleased that all of the parties have shown a willingness to invest in transit and that three out of four parties have stepped up to make a long-term commitment,” said Mayor Jonathan Cote, Chair of the Mayors’ Council.

Guess which one isn’t making a “long-term commitment”?

The Greens, Liberals and NDP have promised to introduce a permanent transit fund, to provide sustained federal investments beyond 2027 when current funding is set to expire, said the Mayors’ Council, while the Conservatives will only say they will “honour investments in projects already committed by the current government, however they would extend spending on infrastructure over the next 15 years rather than 12 years, which would lead to a reduction in the overall federal funding available to build projects in the 10-Year Vision between now and 2027.”

Projects at risk of delay if new transit funding commitments are not made beyond 2027, according to a news release, include the following projects remaining in the 10-Year Vision:

  • Extending SkyTrain to Langley
  • Extending Skytrain to UBC
  • Adding all 5 rapid bus lines that are part of the Phase Three Plan of the 10-Year Vision
  • Rapid transit on King George Boulevard
  • Electrification of TransLink’s bus fleet
  • Burnaby Mountain Gondola

That last item might catch the attention of Burnaby residents.

The Mayors’ Council is making something clear without being really blunt about it – it doesn’t believe the Conservatives are as committed to transit funding as the Greens, Liberals and NDP.

You might want to consider that when you go to the ballot box.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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