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Mayors' Council chair slams feds over lack of transit funding in budget


The chair of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation is criticizing the federal government over the lack of funding for Metro Vancouver transit in this week’s federal budget.

“Just yesterday, the federal government delivered their budget, with no new support for our region’s needs,” Mayors’ Council chair and Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West said during a provincial transit funding announcement on Wednesday. “It is not good enough. A hell of a lot of money leaves the Metro Vancouver region and goes to Ottawa. We need some of that money returned here (to) be reinvested in services for our residents.”

West was speaking at a news conference in which the province revealed $300-million in new funding aimed at increasing bus and SeaBus service in Metro Vancouver.

B.C. Transportation Minister Rob Fleming echoed some of West’s frustration, although he tried to strike a more diplomatic tone.

“I do want to thank the federal government for the times that they were there during the pandemic,” Fleming said Wednesday. “They did advance some money that was very important to TransLink, for sustaining it, to make sure that employees of this company who operate transit, who work hard every day on this magnificent transit system weren’t furloughed, weren’t laid off.

“We didn’t cut routes and services, they were there for that," Fleming added. "The criticism I share with Mayor West is, they need to be there for the recovery too. We expected them to be here on a day like today. We expected the permanent transit fund to be more flexible, and it’s going to be increased, from our perspective, given our investment plans.”

The money will largely go toward 185 new buses, according to TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn. It will also mean buses will come more or extended hours on 60 routes – and more even and late night availability for HandyDART service.

CTV News has requested comment from the federal government on this story. Top Stories

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