Little for Delta in new transportation plan

DELTA – Delta wasn’t completely left out of an ambitious transit plan announced last week by the region’s mayors, but it likely won’t matter if there’s no money to pay for it.

The Metro Vancouver mayors’ transportation committee say their 10-year investment plan, part of an overall 30-year vision, is desperately needed to handle another million people, as well as potentially three million more automobile trips per day, in the region by 2041.

The committee is proposing a $7.5-billion expansion that includes replacing the Pattullo Bridge, 27 kilometres of light rail through Surrey and Langley as well as extending the Millennium Line.

A number of other improvements are listed, but nothing that can be considered major for South Delta, as well as North Delta, which has a provision in its recently completed area plan for light rail transit.

The mayors’ pitch to pay for the plan involves a package that includes an allocation of $250 million from the existing B.C. carbon tax, but Transportation Minister Todd Stone was quick to respond that the provincial government won’t hand over its carbon tax dollars

to TransLink.

Noting she supports some aspects of the plan, including light rail through Surrey, Delta Mayor Lois Jackson said she was disappointed the committee included only one representative from south of the Fraser in Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts, even though that’s where most of the population growth will be taking place.

“They did come up with, certainly, a comprehensive plan, trying to give something to everyone, particularly Vancouver and Surrey who have the most (Metro Vancouver board of directors) votes,” Jackson told the Optimist this week.

“Analyzing what they have offered in terms of Delta, there were two or three things in the Ladner/Tsawwassen relative to stops and stations, but there was no detail. We have made mention before about park-and-ride and the new (SFPR) freeway and that could be something on their horizon,” she said.

While Scott Road could potentially have a B-Line bus if the full plan is carried out, there was no mention of Delta’s preference for light rail, noted Jackson.

“I think whatever they do for Surrey will be helping us but, nonetheless, there’s not an awful lot there for us that seems apparent.”

Jackson said a new committee will look at a referendum question for the public.

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