NDP leader John Horgan poses for a selfie with supporters in Surrey on Thursday.

Horgan promises improved public transit in Surrey

Fassbender points to NDP's history of opposing new transportation projects

  • Oct. 27, 2016 10:00 a.m.

by Andrew Fleming

NDP leader John Horgan was in Surrey on Thursday (Oct. 27) to sell the idea that a change in the provincial government would be good news for commuters who rely on public transit.

A crowd of several dozen people, many of them TransLink workers and members of Unifor Locals 111 and 2200, gathered outside the Surrey Central Bus Exchange to hear Horgan summarize his party’s plan to improve transit options in the city and throughout the Lower Mainland.

“Surrey is the fastest growing city in Metro, it is the fastest growing city in the province, it has 20 per cent of the Metro Vancouver population but has only seven per cent of its transit service,’ said Horgan. “Transit is suffering because Christy Clark is not taking action, aggressive action, to meet the growing demands of this spectacular city. If a BC NDP government is elected next May, it will invest 40 per cent into the Mayors Council 10-year Transit Plan, it will get LRT going here in Surrey, it will get more B-lines going here in Surrey, more frequency of the bus service here in Surrey so Surrey families can spend more time at home with their loved ones and less time in traffic.”

The BC NDP is promising to break the gridlock over Metro Vancouver transit expansion if it wins next spring’s provincial election by boosting the province’s traditional one-third share of capital funding for new projects to 40 per cent. A 40 per cent provincial share, coupled with the federal government’s commitment to contribute half of major transit capital projects, would significantly reduce the required regional contribution to just 10 per cent of capital, plus operating costs.

“What we want to do is make sure the city the resources it deserves to meet the growing demands of an exploding population and get people out of their cars and into public transit to get them moving again.”

Liberal Surrey-Fleetwood MLA Peter Fassbender promptly issued a press release in response to Horgan’s claims.

“Actions speak louder than words,” said Fassbender. “John Horgan and the NDP have opposed infrastructure and transportation projects across British Columbia at every opportunity… The NDP opposed the Evergreen Line, they opposed the Golden Ears Bridge, they opposed BC on the Move, they opposed the George Massey Tunnel Replacement, they opposed the Sea to Sky Highway Improvement, they opposed the Port Mann Bridge, they opposed the South Fraser Perimeter Road, and countless other projects.”

Gavin McGarrigle, B.C. area director for Unifor, said the inaction on new transit projects is a source of frustration for members.

“This is a government that hasn’t done a lot for workers, for most people who are living in poverty and they’ve been playing games with the mayors for the past number of years,” said McGarrigle. “When I served as the labour co-chair for the Better Transit and Transportation Coalition, we tried to win the referendum that was really set up to fail from the beginning and so at the end of the day we’ve seen exactly what we predicted with nothing happening for the past year, year-and-a-half with transit and now the BC NDP are finding a way to break the log jam. The federal government stepped up with more money, it is time for the provincial government to step up with more money as well.”

Metro Vancouver mayors have pressed the BC Liberal government to also commit to a higher provincial share, but the BC Liberal government has not yet agreed, nor has it gotten rid of its legislated requirement for a new referendum on any new transit funding source in the region. Anticipating a 17 per cent regional share, they have proposed enabling TransLink to raise an extra one per cent every year from property tax payers, a $50 million new funding source enabled by the province, as well as a new system of regional development cost charges and another transit fare increase.

The funding gap for TransLink has recently narrowed further since SkyTrain faregates closed. Officials say fare evasion is down and fare revenue is up by at least $25 million a year.

The NDP also reiterated past promises to put area mayors back fully in charge of TransLink, which is currently overseen by an appointed professional board of directors that includes the chair and vice-chair of the Mayors’ Council.

Horgan was joined for the announcement by local NDP MLAs Sue Hammell and Harry Bains but not the scheduled Bruce Ralston, who was delayed at the airport for reasons reportedly unrelated to public transportation.

The next provincial election is May 9, 2017.

 

– with files from Jeff Nagel

Just Posted

Crashes pile up as snow blankets Surrey

Up to 10 centimetres of snow is in the forecast

How much does your city spend per person on snow removal?

Black Press Media compares 2018 ice and snow removal budgets of various Lower Mainland communities

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Surrey pastor in concert with songs from her new ‘Psalms for a Peaceful Heart’ CD

‘Incredible’ church sanctuary in Whalley a stage for Lori-Anne Boutin-Crawford’s music

Plan to redevelop former Surrey motel site too dense, says Coun. Pettigrew

Pettigrew: ‘We need to build liveable community with green spaces… not massive zones that are densified’

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

Market volatility, mortgages loom over upcoming earnings of Canada’s big banks

Central bank interest hikes have padded the banks’ net interest margins

Hearings into SNC-Lavalin affair start today, but not with Wilson-Raybould

She has repeatedly cited solicitor-client privilege to refuse all comment

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

Tilray to acquire hemp food company Manitoba Harvest for up to $419 million

Tilray will pay $150 million in cash and $127.5 million in stock.

Tears, flowers at impromptu memorial for Syrian children killed in Halifax fire

The family had only lived in the Quartz Drive home for a few months

NDP candidates push for stronger climate action as Singh supports LNG Canada

Singh has tried to project unity in the party while facing internal criticism for poor fundraising and low support in the polls

Ex-Langley spiritual leader cleared of stock trading allegations

Investors allegedly lost $740,000 investing through a local religious organization.

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

Most Read