BC’s Minister for TransLink says he’s ready to work with Metro Vancouver mayors on the issue of transit and transportation funding… but the talk and the walk don’t quite line up.
This afternoon, Peter Fassbender again reiterated his willingness to play ball.
“The province’s commitment absolutely is to work with the federal government and with the region.”
Just last month Fassbender said the province and mayors would have to act quickly to take advantage $370-million of federal funding that is currently sitting on the table.
A few weeks ago he caused further confusion insisting its new the province will now pay its third share of the mayor’s ten year plan.
Today it was more talk about working together to answer the funding question.
Reporter: “Have you had a single meeting with the mayors since your announcement of a couple of weeks ago, one?”
Fassbender: “No I haven’t.”
Reporter: “So that doesn’t sound like working together so much?”
Fassbender: “I think we needed to let a bit of time settle down. We needed to get some clarity in terms of the next step on phase one.”
But is he scheduled to meet with mayors anytime soon?
“I do not have a meeting yet. I have sent them a letter.”
Fassbender says mayors can raise the region’s 17-percent share from existing funding and he is confident they will.
Mayors have floated the idea of raising property taxes, fares, and getting carbon tax money to pay the region’s share.
Fassbender is rejecting a report by the David Suzuki Foundation accusing the province of underfunding transit.
The report says the province fell short of meeting its own transit funding promises made in 2008.
Peter Fassbender says that was then this is now and the province has built a new Port Mann bridge, the Canada line, and is building the Evergreen line.
Fassbender: “We are working hard to meet the needs. When I see the traffic on TransLink and the great job they move people efficiently throughout the region. I think we’re doing a great job when you look at other jurisdictions.”
Reporter: “Transit ridership is declining.”
Fassbender: “I think again, what you have to look at, is why is that happening?”
The Suzuki Foundation report blames underfunding of transit something the minister rejects absolutely.