[BTA News] Good news edition! $7 million/yr for better transit, bus lane progress & more

Provincial budget a 7 million dollar step in the right direction

The NDP government’s recently released budget includes a two cent per litre increase in the tax on gasoline and diesel to raise about $7 million per year for better transit. Local government representatives and the Victoria Transit Commission have been calling for this essential funding increase for years. This is very good news!

Progress on Douglas Street / Hwy 1 Bus Lanes

Celebrating the start of bus lane construction in Victoria

Since our last newsletter, two new sections of the 24/7 bus lanes on Douglas Street & Highway 1 have been approved. The Transit Commission unanimously approved dipping into reserve funds to complete the section in Victoria, and the BC NDP government’s recent budget included funding for the section in Saanich from Tolmie to the Burnside Bridge.

Given this progress, we expect that the provincial government will soon announce funding to complete the bus lanes all the way to the 6-Mile Pub. This project could be completed within 24 months 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.

Victoria’s climate-friendly transportation letter makes waves nationally

At the request of the Better Transit Alliance, Victoria City Councillors Jeremy Loveday and Ben Isitt crafted a motion based on the BTA’s open letter on climate-friendly transportation investments. Victoria council passed the motion unanimously in December and now one of Canada’s largest social action organizations is planning a campaign to get cities across the country to send similar letters. Check out the Council of Canadians’ blog including a link to the great letter from Mayor Lisa Helps.

Shifting spending away from urban highway expansion, as the City of Victoria’s letter requests, is a great way to fund better transit and reduce climate pollution in Greater Victoria and across the country.

Consultation on Saanich Peninsula transit improvements

BC Transit is already seeking public input on transit improvements made possible by the increased funding in the budget. There are open houses on Wednesday, February 28 and Thursday, March 1. Changes under consideration include improvements to routes 81 Brentwood/Sidney/Swartz Bay, 83 Sidney/Brentwood/Royal Oak and 88 Airport/Sidney, and the creation of a new route to the Dean Park neighbourhood. Find out more at https://bctransit.com/victoria/news/article?nid=1403649254747

Write a letter to the editor today!

Better Transit Alliance members have been keeping transit in the news, largely by writing letters to the editor. Please consider the good news in this newsletter, and these letters and news articles, and take a few minutes to write your own letter to the editor of the TC or your local paper.

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