Transportation is a hot-button issue in Metro Vancouver. The Metro Vancouver board used to be in charge of TransLink and regional land-use, but the Province stripped Metro of being responsible for regional transportation and placed TransLink under a different structure effectively separating land-use decisions from transportation decisions in 2008. This separation wasn’t ideal as regional land-use and transportation (which are intrinsically linked) policy is now handled by two organizations (three with the Province.) This has created friction.
The TransLink Mayors' Council has sent out an RFP to have more information on the state of practices for the governance of regional services (with a focus on transportation) in other regions. The Mayors’ Council will be making a decision on what governance model they’d like to see for TransLink, even though the Province is under no obligation to act on that recommendation.
At Metro Vancouver, the board has voted to form a new committee in 2013 that will deal solely with transportation issues. This would be separate from the TransLink Mayors’ Council. The new committee or Joint Policy Panel on Transportation would include representatives from Metro Vancouver, Port Metro Vancouver, airport authorities, the non-governmental Gateway Council, and other levels of government in the region. The JPP will hopefully be a forum that will allow all stakeholders to work together and align the sustainability goals of the region with transportation plans and policy.
Of course one of the big players in transportation in the region is the Province, and their transportation priorities seem to be the least connected to Metro's goal of building a sustainable region especially in the South of Fraser were we are seeing massive highway expansion along the edges of our communities with no transit expansion within our communities. Without the Province on-board with the JPP, I wonder how effective it will be. Though having a unified voice will help when lobbying the Province on transportation issues.