Todd Stone, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, and Peter Fassbender, Minister of Community, Sport, and Cultural Development and Minister Responsible for TransLink, today issued the following statement regarding recent meetings with the federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities:
“Last week, we had the opportunity to meet with the federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Amarjeet Sohi.
“We are pleased to say that the meeting was productive and echoed the substantial commitment the federal government has made to infrastructure spending in the recent budget.
“During the meeting we learned that the federal government is making good progress on defining the framework and criteria for various federal infrastructure programs and our focus now is to continue to work with our federal colleagues to align our priorities for funding. This means we will work to ensure British Columbia gets its fair share of the $11 billion that is available over the next three years.
“Our federal partners told us clearly that they would invest heavily in infrastructure upgrades, in our highway system and on transit services right across the province. The conversation with Sohi included projects such as the Trans-Canada Highway with a focus on next steps to four-laning this highway to the Alberta border. We are encouraged that he is aware of the strategic importance of B.C.’s Pacific Gateway and of our national highway, which moves goods and people from B.C.’s coast across the country. And we discussed our priorities for other projects, such as our submission for the George Massey Tunnel replacement and for capital projects for our ferry system.
“We were also pleased to hear that, last week, Sohi allowed a six-month extension to the Capital Regional District to submit their formal application for wastewater treatment. We respect the local government’s jurisdiction in this application, and the Province is providing support to help the region find a cost-effective and timely way to move the project forward.
“We also discussed transit investment across the province, with the federal government reaffirming their budget commitment to invest $460 million in B.C. Our federal colleagues confirmed to us that phase one of the funding for public transit infrastructure will go towards upgrades and maintenance of existing transportation systems, including purchasing new buses, Skytrain vehicles and expanding transit maintenance facilities.
“Phase two will be focused on long-term investments in new transit infrastructure projects such as expansion of rapid transit in Metro Vancouver.
“Minister Fassbender will continue to work with the Mayors’ Council and TransLink to identify and prioritize short-term transit capacity building projects that are ready to go in Metro Vancouver – such as improvements to the bus system, SkyTrain station upgrades, and vehicle enhancements.
“The province remains committed to funding one third of the Broadway SkyTrain extension, Surrey rapid transit, and the Pattullo Bridge. We will ensure the necessary business case and planning work moves forward and will continue to work with the region to identify revenue sources for funding its portion.
“We also received good news for transit users in other parts of the province, as the federal government confirmed that a sizeable share of the $460 million would go to BC Transit to invest in transit services outside of the lower mainland. We will now work to identify how best to use these dollars for projects that may include more CNG buses, upgrades to maintenance facilities, shelters and more.
“We recognize the importance of this relationship with our federal partners and will work to seize the opportunity on behalf of all British Columbians. We will continue to work closely with our federal colleagues on projects that will continue to build strong communities, a strong B.C. and a strong Canada.”