In this newsletter:
• BC Government’s climate plans need a push, from you
• Help get the Highway 1 Bus Lanes Completed – Write to your MLA
BC Government’s climate plans need a push, from you
The BC Government recently outlined some of their high-level ideas on climate action in a set of discussion papers. The transportation proposal is weak, and incomplete – with more ideas promised later. There are some very good things in these discussions papers, including a vague commitment to increase transit funding. But the government needs a push from you to show there is strong public support for prioritizing transit over urban highway expansion.
Transportation accounts for 39 percent of B.C.’s GHG pollution and the paper notes that “emissions from transportation are rising – up 1% since 2007”. The provincial NDP’s commitment is to reduce GHG pollution from transportation 30 percent below 2007 levels by 2030 – about 2.5 percent per year.
The transportation discussion paper mentions the Pan Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, but does not discuss the fact that this federal-provincial climate agreement already commits the government of B.C. to shift spending away from things that increase carbon pollution, such as urban highway expansion, to low-carbon transportation including public transit, walking and cycling. There is no way for us to meet our GHG targets if governments continue to spend billions on projects that increase GHG pollution.
One example of how much money is on the line is the proposal to replace the four-lane Massey Tunnel with a ten-lane freeway bridge costing over three billion dollars. The NDP government has put the ‘Massey Bridge’ boondoggle on hold, but have not cancelled it yet. A Greater Victoria example is that the McTavish and McKenzie Interchanges have cost over $100 million. Public transit must be a much higher priority in the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure budget to meet BC’s climate target.
Better Transit Alliance Member Eric Doherty has written more about these issues in the National Observer.
The provincial government wants to hear what you think about their discussion paper on climate action in the transportation sector. Please sit down with a cold drink and email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org before August 24th (and please send us a copy of your submission to bettertransityyj [at] gmail.com)
Help get the Highway 1 Bus Lanes Completed – Write to your MLA
As you may have noticed, construction is well underway on the 24/7 bus lanes on Douglas Street and on parts of Highway 1. In addition the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is reviewing design specifications for the southbound Highway 1 shoulder bus lane from the Burnside Bridge to Tolmie.
We expect that the provincial government will soon announce funding to fill in the gap, and complete the bus lanes all the way to the 6-Mile Pub (See Map). This project could be completed quickly and for a very reasonable cost, once the funding is approved. It is time to get the Highway 1 bus lanes built, and then start on the Pat Bay Highway bus lanes.
Please write to your MLA to:
• Urge them to move immediately to complete the fill in the gap, and complete the Highway 1 shoulder bus lanes all the way to the 6-Mile Pub area.
• Tell them why better public transit is important to you, and urge them to make better public transit an even higher budget priority.