Frances Bula header image 2

Mayors, province sign new MOU on how to pay for transit — but what does it mean?

September 23rd, 2010 · 46 Comments

Here is the actual text of the memorandum of agreement between the province and mayors, which many are hoping will end the food fight that was going on between the two sides last year.

But it’s a little hard to figure out, just from looking at these words, what it all actually means. I’ll have a story in the Globe later on that, but you can peruse the agreement in the meantime.





A.        The Province of British Columbia  and municipal governments in the Metro Vancouver area are committed to developing a long term strategy for promoting “Livable Cities” in the region that are designed for sustainable growth and British Columbians’ needs in the 21st Century;


B.        “Livable Cities” will require new and innovative policies that integrate a wide variety of federal, provincial, regional and local initiatives and policies that ensure the achievement of this overall goal;


C.        Efficient, affordable, carbon smart transportation infrastructure and services are an integral part of a “livable city” strategy that aspires to help plan for as well as  shape population growth in new ways that create cleaner, safer, healthier communities and the efficient movement of people, goods and services;


D.        The combined resources of senior governments together with that of Metro Vancouver’s 21 municipalities are required to sustain and support the development of a transportation system that efficiently integrates the movement of people and goods across the entire region.  This will be done at the lowest cost possible for taxpayers within a comprehensive network that will:

  • Support environmentally sustainable cities with healthy populations and growing economies.
  • Provide a gateway for international commerce for Canada.
  • Foster lower carbon emissions, better air quality, reduced traffic congestion, and more convenient travel options.
  • Encourage relatively lower housing costs, more affordable housing, and new municipal infrastructure and services;


E.         The Province, the Mayors’ Council, and TransLink wish to work together to achieve the following goals represented in the transportation plans of the Province and TransLink, and the goals of the proposed Metro Vancouver “Livable Region Strategy” all of which have been broadly embraced by the public, stakeholders, and governments:

  • Provide efficient, reliable, carbon reduced transit that contributes to the majority of trips made by public transit, walking, and biking; all allowing and encouraging people to reduce dependence on their vehicles, especially single occupancy trips, and offering healthy lifestyle choices.
  • Aggressively reduce GHG emissions and air contaminants from transportation to assist the province and municipalities in meeting their GHG and clean air targets.
  • Support population and employment density near transit hubs and along transit corridors, so the majority of jobs and housing are located along a frequent transit network, a network that needs to expand to accommodate existing needs/priorities and to shape sustainable future growth.
  • Promote vibrant neighbourhoods and communities that are more responsive to modern needs, including new demands for affordable housing, appropriate health services, as well as “green” residential and commercial development.
  • Provide safe, secure, accessible and affordable travel for the region’s population;
  • Facilitate economic growth, productivity gains, and international trade through the efficient and effective management of the transportation network.
  • Ensure that operating costs will be controlled by making use of existing administration and/or infrastructure systems in support of new revenue sources whenever possible rather than developing new ones;


F.         TransLink requires access to sufficient and stable long-term funding, for both capital and operating requirements, to help achieve these goals and change behaviours which will help shape transportation choices in the future.

NOW THEREFORE, the parties set out in this memorandum agree:

1.         To work together in a cooperative and collaborative way to address the goals of “Livable Cities”, including the development of a long term, sustainable funding strategy that maximizes TransLink’s available revenue sources and invites open and ongoing dialogue between the parties on potential new funding solutions.

2.         That transportation planning is a key component of successful livable cities and should include principles as listed below:

a.         Investments in transit should be appropriate to support higher population densities that are designed to best utilize land at the lowest cost possible for taxpayers and the environment.

b.         Transportation planning should be an integral component of community planning.

c.         Communities should be developed to encourage alternatives to vehicle traffic, with direct emphasis on pedestrian, cycling and transit.

d.         Transit investments must be justified through a comprehensive business case which considers all factors including; ridership, expenses and revenue sources to name a few.

e.         Transportation Demand Management principles should be developed that will assist in the achievement of the overall transportation goals.

f.          Transit and road and bridge improvements need to be coordinated and implemented in a timely and expedited fashion to support the success of TransLink’s 2040, the Provincial Transit Pacific Gateway and other Provincial plans that will help stimulate growth and job creation.

3.         To recognize that any strategy for livable cities with a viable long-term transportation plan will anticipate open dialogue on transportation funding sources that may include, but not be limited to, the items listed below:

a.         Funding sources included in current and future legislative authority.

b.         Reallocation of existing revenue sources.

c.         Potential new and innovative revenue sources that will shape transportation choices in favour of transit, cycling and walking, as well as greenhouse gas emission reductions.

d.         A means of capturing some of the increase in land value created by the provision of rapid transit along the region’s strategic corridors.

e.         Other revenue generating activities that take advantage of the market created by transit users.

f.          Efficient and effective use of “Smart Card” technology to increase ridership beyond peak periods, improve efficiencies (reduce operating costs and increase the productivity of the transit fleets), reduce fare evasion and in general, generate greater fare revenue (user pay).

4.         To recognize that BC has a significant comparative advantage in generating clean and green renewable electricity that could be used to reduce the carbon footprint of the transportation sector in the region.

5.         To continue to engage the Federal Government in ongoing discussions on funding support, including future capital contributions for new transit and transportation infrastructure and/or the potential reallocation of existing funding (i.e. federal fuel tax).

6.         To review existing regulatory and policy frameworks to enhance the achievement of provincial, regional or local transportation goals as listed below:

a.         Joint review of planning and engineering of municipal and provincial arterial roads to ensure safety and efficiency in operations.

b.         Review of procurement practices related to transit and road and bridge projects to ensure transparency, value and appropriate structure.

c.         Review of contracting process to ensure innovation in contracting methods including components of financing, design and standardized contract language.

d.         Efficient methods of obtaining appropriate zoning on publicly owned holdings to maximize benefits and minimize taxpayer or user costs.

7.         To review best practices from other jurisdictions and seek expert advice to help develop a “Made in BC” solution.

8.         To leverage existing processes including the Steering Committee, Joint Technical Committee and any other appropriate new mechanisms to ensure follow-up to this MOU.

9.         To consult with a wide and diverse list of public and private stakeholders in order to ensure maximum acceptance of the outcome of the deliberations undertaken by the parties under this MOU.

For more information on government services or to subscribe to the Province’s news feeds using RSS, visit the Province’s website at

Categories: Uncategorized