CRD board is calling on the provincial and federal governments to step up and help with transit improvements. (Black Press Media file photo)

CRD calls on provincial, federal governments to improve Greater Victoria public transit

‘We desperately need more dollars in our system,’ CRD director says

The Capital Regional District (CRD) is calling on the senior governments to fund improvements to the region’s public transit system as a means to increase service, support economic recovery and help achieve climate change goals.

During a board meeting June 24, the CRD passed a motion submitted by three directors – Saanich Couns. Ned Taylor and Rebecca Mersereau and Victoria Coun. Jeremy Loveday – to send a letter to members of the provincial and federal government asking for increased funding for improvements to public transportation, to improve access to transit and support economic resilience in the region.

This was “already a pressing issue prior to COVID-19. We desperately need more dollars in our system,” Taylor told Black Press Media.

Thousands of residents rely on public transit to get around the region and, as an active transportation user himself, Taylor feels there hasn’t been a hard enough push for transit improvements in the past.

He pointed to gaps in the existing system and areas with intermittent service which results in crowded buses and riders left behind. Increased frequency is even more important now because of the social distancing requirements which have reduced capacity on buses, he said.

Taylor feels with funding the region could consider new forms of public transportation – such as light rail – to serve the growing population and help reduce the region’s emissions.

Metchosin Mayor John Ranns was the only director to oppose the motion. He called it a “non-essential item” and “too restrictive” as it specifically outlined where stimulus money could be spent.

“I can’t help but think that there’s a number of members here that don’t really see the new world that we’re entering,” he said, noting that higher taxes are likely on the way to cover the costs of the COVID-19 initiatives that are still supporting many people. He added that with more people working from home, there’s a possibility that there won’t be a need for increased transportation.

The CRD board chair will write to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, B.C. Premier John Horgan, the minister of transportation and infrastructure calling for “new investments and reliable annual funding to support increased public transportation.” The letter will also be copied to other members of both the provincial and federal governments including MLAs and MPs representing the CRD and to the Victoria Regional Transit Commission which has also called for transit improvements.

Taylor hopes to see the “senior levels of government put their money where their mouth is.”


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

BC TransitCRD

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unemployment surpasses historic high in Greater Victoria, tourism hit hard

Hospitality and tourism sectors hurting as pandemic continues

Victoria tattoo shops respond to sex assault allegations against male artists

Carne Tattoo and Painted Lotus Studios respond to allegations

‘I love my animals very dearly,’ says man at centre of Saanich park allegations

Man accused of assault after being approached for allegedly mistreating his dog

Mayor not in favour of low barrier housing at Oak Bay Lodge

Process is already in place to determine future of Oak Bay Lodge

Victoria seeks court order to enforce sheltering rules in Beacon Hill Park

People being asked to move out of environmentally sensitive areas of park

VIDEO: Langford cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of July 7

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Would you get a vaccine for COVID-19 when it is available?

With the number of positive COVID-19 tests skyrocketing across much of the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Vancouver Island business ad unintentionally features OK gesture linked to white supremacy

Innocuous ‘OK’ gesture in cleaning franchise advertisement gets flak on social media for ‘supposedly’ promoting white supremacy

Comox Valley RCMP looking for missing woman

Ami Guthrie was last seen in Courtenay in early July

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Most Read