Result doesn't mean residents reject transit and transportation improvements
VANCOUVER — Today's disappointing No plebiscite result reinforces the need for urgent, region-wide transit and transportation improvements, the Better Transit and Transportation Coalition says.
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"It was an uphill battle and we knew it wouldn't be easy. We're disappointed and concerned about the impact of this result on our region's livability," says Peter Robinson, Co-Chair and David Suzuki Foundation CEO. "However, the support from 145 groups representing more than 400,000 people from a broad range of interests for transit and transportation improvements sends a powerful message that doesn't end with a no vote." The Coalition co-chairs thanked those who voted Yes for their strong support for transit improvements.
While Metro Vancouver residents rejected the small provincial sales tax increase to fund the Mayors' Council Plan, the coalition reminds people the result doesn't mean transit and transportation improvements were rejected.
"It's impossible to say exactly why people voted no. It's unfortunate that the real issue of how we can get much-needed improvements became mixed up with issues introduced around TransLink," said Gavin McGarrigle, BTTC Co-Chair and Unifor BC Area Director. "Despite all the distractions, residents know that our traffic gridlock crisis is a huge problem in need of an immediate solution."
Concern has been raised that congestion could become debilitating as the region prepares to add one million more residents over the next 25 years.
"This result likely means years of delays before any new transit comes on-line — with the unfortunate and predictable increase in road congestion and pollution as our population grows," says Iain Black, Co-Chair and Vancouver Board of Trade CEO. "Our economy and businesses will continue to suffer without improvements."
Governments still have to find funding for transit and transportation improvements to keep the region livable. "We must now rely on the leadership from the provincial government and the Mayors' Council to find an alternative way to fund the projects that Metro Vancouver desperately needs," says Co-Chair representing students, Bahareh Jokar, former University of BC Alma Mater Society External Vice-President. "While we wait, unfortunately, the gridlock will get worse."
The coalition recognizes the need to advocate for transit and transportation improvements for Metro Vancouver. "We are talking to our members and exploring how we can continue to advocate for solutions," co-chair Robinson says.