Interim executive director of the Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation Michael Buda was the keynote speaker at Transportation Conference 2015, held on January 28 in downtown Burnaby, British Columbia.
Buda began by explaining that population in the Lower Mainland will swell over coming decades, and that is transportation was to be improved, the time to start is now.
He added that "the cost of doing nothing" is too high, and that the region has put forward a comprehensive and balanced plan. In February 2014 the province of B.C. directed Mayors' Council to prepare a 10-year plan to form the basis of the upcoming referendum. In June 2014, the council adopted the Transportation and Transit Plan.
The plan is an improvement to the transportation network as a whole, Buda said, and increases the percentage of the region with access to the Frequent Transit Network, which is defined by transit arriving every 15 minutes.
By 2045, he said, 70 per cent of the region will have access to this level of service.
The plan calls for a $7.5 billion capital investment in the region's transportation network, supported through fare and toll revenue, new regional revenue, and funding partnerships, he said.
100 per cent of the Gas Tax Fund have been allocated to Translink, Buda said, with some of it dedicated to the Mayors' Plan and the rest going to existing transit projects.
However it could be used for bridges and roads, Buda said, answering a question from BC Road Builders head Jack Davidson.