I Believe in a Bold Vision for BC’s Transportation

A province as vast and diverse as British Columbia, transportation represents both a daunting challenge and an incredible opportunity to build our province and our communities for the future.

Transportation represents a vital link that helps shape our communities, our province, and our everyday lives. From a business’ ability to sell its goods to how long it takes someone to get home to their family after work. It drives our economy and business, it impacts affordability, it influences our health, safety, and our quality of life. In a province as vast and diverse as British Columbia, transportation represents both a daunting challenge and an incredible opportunity to build our province and our communities for the future.

As the next leader of the BC Liberal Party, and next Premier of British Columbia, I will…

Bold, Visionary Transportation Projects for Today and the Future

creative, and visionary transportation and transit projects that will help create better connected, greener, more livable communities. That means developing 10, 20, even 30 year plans that lay out clear priorities and the steps necessary to get there.

The Canada Line, the Sea to Sky Highway, and the Coquihalla Highway are examples of bold ideas of their day proposed by visionary leaders. I am committed to working with communities and all levels of government to develop a new generation of these ideas for the next half century. From an expanded rapid transit network in Metro Vancouver – including the Surrey and Broadway rapid transit lines – as well as future rapid transit encompassing the North Shore and the Fraser Valley, to commuter rail in Greater Victoria, to highway capacity expansion in BC’s Interior and North. This also includes meeting today’s transportation needs on routes to the Alex Fraser Bridge, on Highway 17 through Delta and Surrey, and working with local governments to immediately begin work on a replacement for the George Massey Tunnel suitable for commuters and local communities.

British Columbians need a leader who is not afraid to explore bold transportation ideas, then work to make those ideas a reality because investing in transportation and transit goes hand-in-hand with growing our economy, tackling housing affordability, and creating a cleaner environment for future generations.

Making our Cities More Livable Through Transportation

Although our urban economies are strong with low unemployment and continued economic growth, too many British Columbians are feeling pinched by the increasing cost of living and issues of affordability.

To supplement my commitments for a renewed focus on housing affordability, I am also committed to working with local governments to build transportation projects that will better connect our communities. As part of that process, we need to encourage increased development and density along those corridors. This will not make a significant difference in creating more vibrant, sustainable neighbourhoods, but if done properly, will mean more affordable communities as well.

This means that all levels of government – federal, provincial, municipal and regional – need to work together to develop the transportation and urban planning that meets our needs today and into the future.

Metro Vancouver Transit

We need to continue building on the record investments our previous government made in transit expansion in Metro Vancouver. This includes full support for the work underway on rapid transit expansion in Surrey and the Broadway extension in Vancouver as well as the other service improvements and projects identified in Phases 1 and 2 of the Mayor’s Council plans, especially South of the Fraser. In addition, I believe that we can do a better job utilizing our existing resources so I would commit to working with TransLink to extend SkyTrain and Canada Line service to run 24 hours on weekends and during special events such as New Year’s Eve.

Better Managing Transportation in Metro Vancouver

Although many improvements have been made, the management of Metro Vancouver’s transportation network remains too fragmented. I would begin a conversation with Metro Vancouver residents and local governments about the potential to consolidate all transportation assets – roads, highways, bridges, tunnels – under one Regional Major Roads Authority to make transportation decisions. There are a variety of options for how that authority could be structured, but it would have the tools to make its own decisions, manage demand, and be publicly accountable to ensure success going forward. That also means no further public referendums on transportation funding. We need a more collaborative and constructive relationship with the Translink Mayor’s Council and a commitment to work with local governments to find transportation solutions that work for communities and the region.

We also need to work with the Mayor’s Council to identify a new and sustainable transportation funding source to close the “regional funding gap” now facing TransLink. This includes supporting the Mayor’s efforts to re-think current funding methods in favour of a model that is fair and equitable across the region. Under my leadership, these potential funding sources would also include looking at dedicating revenue from any future carbon tax increases to transit expansion and other green transportation projects.

Urban Areas outside Metro Vancouver

Urban areas outside Metro Vancouver also need a further investment in transit and transportation infrastructure with an eye to long term plans. That includes moving ahead with business planning for light rail in Greater Victoria as well as increased rapid bus service between the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal and downtown Victoria. We also need to work with municipal governments across the province to see continued expansion of bus and rapid bus service and infrastructure giving people more viable options to leave their car at home.

Better Connecting Rural BC

One of the most vital services in many rural areas is a safe, efficient transportation system that links communities and provides economic opportunities. Expanding road networks, and upgrading existing routes, as well as ensuring air access must remain a high priority to allow rural communities to reach their full potential and give families every opportunity for success no matter where in the province they live. Specific routes for increased investment include Highway 1 four-laning to the Alberta Border, the Cariboo Connector, Highway 16, as well as Highway 4 to the West Coast, Highway 17 across the Saanich Peninsula, and the Nanaimo Parkway.
In addition, working with the Federal Government, a further investment needs to be made to better utilize the competitive advantage offered by the Port of Prince Rupert. This includes improving and expanding transportation links to allow rural communities and businesses more efficient access to get their products to the port.

Modernizing Transportation Regulations

Much of the regulation governing transportation in British Columbia was designed around the traditional automobile. I will update and modernize the Passenger Transportation Act to reflect how people get around today. We need to shift our thinking from the rules of the past, to what will help British Columbians better, cleaner, and more efficiently get around in the future. That means examining everything from helping reduce congestion by allowing lane splitting by motorcycle riders when conditions are safe to do so, to modernizing our thinking around what constitutes a vehicle so as to reduce red-tape for smaller, green, single seat vehicles.

Coastal Communities

Safe, sustainable transportation and ferry service is vital for our coastal communities. With BC Ferries once again on stable financial footing, we can begin the process of working to lower fares while also investing in new types of service that better serves coastal residents. As leader, I would work towards ensuring more benefits for coastal residents who use BC Ferries. This means eliminating ferry reservation fees for BC residents and making ferry travel free for school or community sports teams from coastal communities, as well as examining what tax credits could be offered to help coastal and island residents offset the cost of regular ferry use. We also need to work with BC Transit and communities to improve bus or transportation and terminal parking options to get to ferry terminals to help reduce the need for vehicles on many smaller commuter routes, and we need to continue to advocate for greater levels of federal funding to support vessel replacements and terminal upgrades.

Clean Energy Vehicles

BC is already a leader when it comes to Clean Energy Vehicles (CEV) and charging stations, but we have an opportunity to expand this even further, especially outside of Metro Vancouver.
Under my leadership, I would extend the CEV rebate program and make it permanent to provide an incentive for British Columbians to purchase electric or other clean energy vehicles. We also need to enhance our provincial EV infrastructure and expand charging networks across the province, including a thorough review of regulatory barriers for the private sector.

British Columbians living in Kamloops or Fort St John should have the same EV options as those living in Vancouver or Victoria. That means supporting a significant provincial investment in charging infrastructure in communities across the province and on major highways linking those communities, and work towards having charging stations at every provincial rest stop.

I would also work with municipalities to develop regulations to allow local governments to require new buildings to install enhanced infrastructure for electric vehicle charging, encourage municipalities to offer free parking to CEVs, and develop policies to facilitate installing electric vehicle charging stations in existing strata buildings and developments.