A group of 21 politicians in the Vancouver area thinks the commute is so bad all of Canada has to get involved. The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation has a 10-year vision to improve TransLink's services but they say they can't do it on their own. That's why they've introduced the Cure Congestion campaign in advance of next year's election, asking for a whopping $375 million each year in federal funds to be directed to the region.
The plan, which the group released Tuesday, April 9, details why the money is needed and how it will be spent.
“Metro Vancouver consistently ranks as one of the best regions in the world for quality of life, but residents and businesses continue to be frustrated by congestion on our roads and overcrowding on our transit system," Doug McCallum, Mayor of Surrey, said in the group's press release, adding that the region is at a "tipping point."
The money would be put toward initiatives like expanding bus service and making them electric, extending SkyTrain services, and improving bike and pedestrian infrastructure. The group believes that as the population of the Vancouver area increases by roughly 1 million people per year (and 600,000 new vehicles), these improvements are an essential, and national, issue.
If the campaign is successful, they say commutes for locals would be cut by as much as 30 minutes and hundreds of lives would be saved by diverting traffic to public transit and away from busy roads. It would also reduce Vancouver's carbon footprint (and how often you're late to work.)
“The Cure Congestion campaign is about more than asking the federal government for money; we need Ottawa to work with local leaders in partnership to keep communities moving," Kennedy Stewart, Mayor of Vancouver, argued.
While the BC capital would get a nice chunk of change, the Congestion Relief campaign would also create a national fund of $3.4 billion annually to be dispensed across the country beginning in 2028.
A similiar initiative was dashed in 2017, but voters will have another chance to decide this year if this is an issue that moves them — or a quicker commute isn't worth the cash.