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Province, cities need to decide where their 50% transit funding will come from in next five weeks

May 20th, 2016 · 3 Comments

I will admit straight up that I don’t fully understand the negotiations going on between the province and cities over how they will come up with their $370 million to match the $370 million the feds are willing to put into transit locally from this year’s budget.

I had a long interview with Minister Peter Fassbender, where he said the province is doing everything it can to make sure B.C. and Vancouver get that money. But I didn’t hear any sign of him moving away from the province’s longtime position that it will only pay 33 per cent of any infrastructure project. And the cities are saying they won’t go past 10 per cent.

The minister and premier have been floating the idea that somehow the shortfall could be covered by getting money from a new development charge on projects that go up near transit lines. That might have been an excellent idea for Burnaby and Coquitlam, which are growing towers like mushrooms near the new Evergreen Line.

But mayors say the same kind of development is not going to appear along Broadway, which is already zoned for high density, or Surrey. There will be some medium-rise development along its light rail, but likely not towers.

My Globe story on this is here, but my guess is that there is much more vigorous shoving and pushing going on behind the scenes that what is on the surface.

I also hear from several sources that the province seems to be trying to say to the cities, Just come up with the money for Phase 1 (this year’s $370 million) and we’ll work out the details for Phase 2 later.

And the mayors are saying back, No, it needs to be settled all together and now.



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