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March 5, 2015 at 9:00 AM

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What the Transit Referendum Will Do For You

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By Amanda Mackaay

Starting March 16, the fate of the livability of the city resides directly in the hands of Vancouver residents who will be asked to mail in their vote on a The Mayors Council Transportation and Transit Plan which proposes 0.5% increase in provincial sales tax. Vancouver residents are voting yes to an investment in public life; a less congested, healthier, greener and more sustainable future for Vancouverites. Vancouver’s growing population is unequivocally linked to a growing demand for rapid transportation so a yes vote ensures that the infrastructure is in place to respond to these changes.

Say Yes to less congestion and more accessibility:

Time is a major opportunity cost associated with congested cities. The Mayors Council Transportation and Transit Plan promises a 20 % reduction in congestion thereby freeing up 20-30 minutes per day for drivers and transit users. Voting yes will ensure that Vancouver enjoys the following investments in transportation:

  • 25% increase in bus service across the region
  • 200 more kilometres of B-line routes
  • More frequent all-day and peak hour service
  • 50% more Seabus service
  • 80 % more Nightbus service
  • Upgrades to the Expo, Millennium and Canada Lines
  • 2,700 kilometres of bikeways
  • Better connections to transit through pedestrian improvements
  • Maintaining and upgrading Major Road Networks

Say Yes to better public health:

Less congestion equates to less fatalities and injuries as a result of car collisions. Furthermore, a decrease in the amount of cars on the road gets Vancouver one step closer to reducing its carbon footprint by reducing the amount of pollution emitted into the atmosphere, thereby improving the quality of the air that we breathe in. A yes vote also fills in the gaps in the current cycling network which yields a greater number of safe cycle paths and bikeways. The new transportation plan also plans to improve cycle and walkway access to transit routes thereby incentivizing the option to use transit instead of driving. Lower commute times and an increase in walking and cycling routes inevitably catalyzes improvements in public health by increasing physical activity and decreasing the chronic diseases associated with inactivity and stress.

Both Patricia Daly, the Chief Medical Health Officer for Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, and Victoria Lee, the interim Chief Medical Health Officer for Fraser Health Authority, have officially endorsed a Yes vote in the referendum.

Say Yes to a stronger economy:

High capacity rapid transit is needed to capitalize on the economic potential of the city. More specifically, the Broadway Corridor is the second largest business and innovation center in British Columbia and therefore an increase in transportation routes will help unlock the economic growth potential of this area. The Broadway Corridor accounts for one quarter of all metro- Vancouver’s tech jobs and 40 percent of all health care jobs. The corridor connects UBC, the largest academic institution in the province, with Downtown and other key business centers. An increase in rapid transportation will enable innovation and top talent to move efficiently around the region.

What you can do for the Transit Referendum:

If you are a registered voter in BC, you will receive a mail-in ballot starting on March 16 and have until May 29, 2015 to mail in your answer to the following provincially approved question:

“Do you support a new 0.5% Metro Vancouver Congestion Improvement Tax, to be dedicated to the Mayors’ Transportation and Transit Plan?”

If you are among those who are not currently registered to vote, you can call 1-800-661-8683 or click here to ensure you are ready to vote in the referendum.

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