$900 Million For BC’s Aging Infrastructure

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1Good news for those concerned with the state of our province’s aging transportation system. The Federal, provincial and municipal governments are partnering to provide a total of $900 million for BC’s aging infrastructure.

$900 Million For BC’s Aging Infrastructure

Ottawa will provide the biggest chunk of this, $460 million. British Columbia is putting in another $308 million.

“This investment will help meet rising demand, ease congestion, lower our carbon footprint, and enhance our quality of life,” said Premier Christy Clark.

“It will also help to grow the middle class by improving business flows in municipalities while reducing environmental damage,” added Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Specific Allocations

Burred Street Skytrain Station by Alex Costing via Fklickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)
Burrard Street Skytrain Station by Alex Costing via Fklickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)

The portion being used for Metro Vancouver TransLink will be used to:

  • The purchase of additional SkyTrain vehicles for the Expo, Millennium, and Canada Lines
  • A new West Coast Express locomotive
  • A new SeaBus
  • Upgrades to SkyTrain stations
  • Design and planning for Rapid Transit South of Fraser and the Millennium Line Extension along Broadway

Other funding will be used for:

  • Investments in new bus depots, maintenance yards and operations facilities, as well as in new CNG fueling stations, in communities across the province.
  • New and more efficient buses, including cleaner burning CNG-fueled buses, and new buses for handyDART service expansion.
  • New technologies to make the fleet safer for drivers and passengers and to give BC Transit and local communities’ ridership information that will make them become even more efficient.

An Obvious Need

According to a report by Professor David Gillen,  from UBC’s Sauder school of business, the need is obvious. The province’s last major injection started in the 1950’s.

“This facilitated the growth of the BC economy both in population and standard of living during the latter part of the 20th century…”

” …. But new issues and challenges have arisen primarily in the Lower Mainland and Victoria region. Traffic volumes have grown much faster than road capacity. Air pollution and congestion have become major challenges and concerns. Moving goods to the ports and people to jobs has become more and more difficult and time consuming.

View of Vancouver from the Seabus by Kimba Howard via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)
View of Vancouver from the Seabus by Kimba Howard via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)

“Infrastructure investment is important for sustained economic prosperity and ensuring British Columbians can access work, school, recreation, friends & relatives; it is more than economics, it is a way of life.

“Infrastructure is long lived. Decisions made to invest today will carry into the future. Infrastructure will shape the future affecting where we go, where we build and what we can access. Infrastructure is not just for cars, it moves trucks, buses, trollies, bicycles, light rail and rapid transit. It links cars with ferries. Investing in infrastructure is consistent with a policy on sustainable transportation, a smart system and one that will ensure the economic and social vitality of British Columbia well into the future.” [1. Prof David Gillen, Building for the Future of British Columbia: The Importance of Transportation Infrastructure to Economic Growth and Employment, Centre for Transportation Studies, November 2012, pp 2-3]

Top Photo Credit: Comox Valley handyDART by Richard Ericsson via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)

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