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Better Transit and Transportation Coalition supports Surrey mayor and council on plan to cut traffic, improve transit south of the Fraser

The Better Transit and Transportation Coalition fully supports Mayor Linda Hepner and Surrey council in their campaign for a Yes vote in the upcoming transportation plebiscite. The BTTC represents more than 90 business, student, environmental, health and labour groups.

In an event at Surrey city hall on Wednesday, Mayor Hepner and council members formally launched their campaign to support the Mayors' Council Plan, which seeks to increase the PST in Metro Vancouver by 0.5 per cent to fund badly needed improvements to transportation networks across the region. The Mayors' Council, which launched its own campaign last month, developed the infrastructure plan to accommodate current and future needs, with one million new residents expected to move to the region by 2040.

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"With 400 more buses, 27 kilometres of light rail connecting Surrey City Centre with Newton, Guildford and the Langleys, four new B-line bus routes south of the Fraser and a new, safer Pattullo Bridge, this plan is designed to improve transportation of all sorts," said Downtown Surrey Business Improvement Association CEO Elizabeth Model. "The plan will get people to work faster and move goods through the region more efficiently, giving business owners in Surrey and across Metro Vancouver a lot to gain with a Yes vote."

"Communities south of the Fraser, and Surrey in particular, stand to benefit immensely from a Yes vote," said BTTC co-chair and David Suzuki Foundation CEO Peter Robinson. "The Mayors' Plan will not only result in cleaner air, healthier communities and fewer greenhouse gas emissions; it will also improve commute times and quality of life for people across our region."

Over the next three decades, 380,000 people are expected to move to Surrey, making it one of the fastest growing cities in Canada and highlighting the need for more effective transportation. The Mayors' Council Plan would connect Surrey City Centre to Guildford and Newton Town Centre via light rail, and would also include light rail along the Fraser Highway into Langley. Along with increased bus service and other projects across Metro Vancouver, these improvements are expected to lead to a 20 per cent reduction in traffic congestion.

"Imagine easing traffic by removing the need for one in five vehicles from the road during rush hour each day," said Unifor B.C. Area director Gavin McGarrigle. "That is the expected result of these transit improvements. Combined with a modern Pattullo Bridge and road improvements across the region, this plan has the potential to make everyone's commute easier and expand access to jobs."
The event in Surrey comes less than a week after the BTTC's own launch, where more than 300 supporters packed SFU's Segal Building in downtown Vancouver.

"This coalition is the most diverse group I've seen supporting a single cause," Model said. "It isn't every day that you see environmental, labour, business and student groups all advocating for the same thing. Linda Hepner and the other mayors have really struck a positive chord and created a vision for our region that we fully support."

Residents of Metro Vancouver will receive mail-in ballots for the plebiscite beginning March 16 and must submit votes by May 29. For more information on how to vote, visit http://www.elections.bc.ca/.

For more information:

Downtown Surrey BIA — Elizabeth Model, 604-580-2321
David Suzuki Foundation — Theresa Beer, 778-874-3396
Vancouver Board of Trade — Greg Hoekstra, 604-640-5450

For more information about the BTTC visit www.bettertransit.info

February 11, 2015
http://www.davidsuzuki.org/media/news/2015/02/transit-and-transportation-plan-critical-to-surrey-and-regions-economy-and-healt/