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BC Greens pitch subsidies and funding for transit and city life

Greens to invest provincial money in active and alternative transportation
A TransLink bus makes its rounds on a busy day in 2015. Before the transit organization can boost ridership to pre-pandemic levels, it will need help to dig itself out of a financial hole, says a spokesman

BC Green leader Sonia Furstenau says the provincial government should play a greater role in promoting transit and alternative means of transportation in cities.

She announced some of her party’s broad post-pandemic transportation policies via a statement while on the campaign trail on Vancouver Island Saturday.

These policies focus on subsidizing new infrastructure for non-vehicle modes of transportation; having growth pay for upgraded transit; and putting more onus on the user to pay for such infrastructure.

But first, to achieve more “walkable neighbourhoods,” Furstenau wants to subsidize new developments that include bike lanes, trails, parks, new community spaces and pedestrian-only streets.

“As we recover from COVID-19, we need to think about how we can build stronger communities. I’ve spoken a lot already in this campaign about the need for a recovery that fights climate change and spurs innovation.

“Investing in transit, livable cities and active transportation will not only help us meet our climate targets - it will improve our physical and mental wellbeing, the strength and connectedness of our communities, and our overall quality of life,” said Furstenau.

The Greens will also lift the PST on e-bikes and “promote” car co-ops.

Some new regulations are also needed, such as secure bike parking and charging capabilities at offices and other commercial premises.

Furstenau wants to see new revenue models “to fully capture the public’s fair share of the land lift from transit oriented development.”

As well, the Greens are renewing the call for mobility pricing — paying for how far, where and when one drives, based on a pre-determined charges.

Transit funding must be a post-pandemic priority, Furstenau argues.

The Greens want to,“Prioritize investment in transit service coming out of COVID-19 to support economic recovery, improve livability of communities, and reduce GHG emissions.”

The Greens also want to, “Ensure that the projected long-term losses facing TransLink, BC Transit and BC Ferries are dealt with so that service levels are maintained, allowing ridership to quickly bounce back through the economic recovery period.

“COVID-19 has highlighted the benefits of more livable communities,” said Furstenau.