With a provincial election looming, Christy Clark’s B.C. Liberal Government is increasing its contribution to the Metro Vancouver 10-year transit plan from 33 per cent to 40 per cent.
TransLink Minister Peter Fassbender made the announcement Friday morning in Surrey.
“We are matching the Trudeau government’s $2.2-billion, dollar for dollar.”
This dollar figure is the same one the Federal Government doled out in last week’s budget.
“Today’s announcement is that confirmation of our commitment to the future, to the region, and to see the major rapid transit projects that are going to be critical for the future, to start getting done, and getting done now.”
When the Federal money was announced last week, however, B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong had said the Province would be sticking to its 33 per cent commitment.
“Well, I think what the Finance Minister said is it was early days, he was speaking on the day of the budget. We had to do an analysis as to what the impact of the Federal and the Trudeau government’s commitment to this region was. We’ve done that work, we’ve sat down as a government and said that we can demonstrate clearly our support by matching the Federal funding, we have the ability to do that, and that’s why we’ve made the decision,” says Fassbender.
Global News Legislative Bureau Chief Keith Baldrey says a few moves likely forced the Province’s hand.
“The game changer here, I think was the Trudeau government’s decision to agree to go to 40 per cent and that put pressure on Victoria, which has always been a sort of equal partner to Ottawa when it comes to funding. So if the Feds were going to be at 40, the Province has to be at 40.”
Baldrey also says the B.C. NDP’s pledge to increase Provincial funding to 40% if it wins the May 9 election likely added pressure on the B.C. Liberals to change their position.
The local Mayors’ share will fall from 33 per cent to 20 per cent.
With files from Ria Renouf