Transit advocates Paul Hillsdon, founder of Metro604, and Nathan Pachal, founder of South Fraser OnTrax, have unveiled Leap Ahead, a transit funding plan for the region. Based on over a year’s worth of research, the Leap Ahead proposal provides a clear path forward on stalled transit expansion plans. If implemented, Leap Ahead would unlock $15 billion in economic benefits and provide rapid transit to every part of Metro Vancouver.
In line with regional and provincial priorities, Leap Ahead would fund the immediate construction of significant transit infrastructure including:
- UBC SkyTrain
- South Fraser LRT & B-Line
- Expo Line Upgrades
- SFU Gondola
- Marine Drive (North Shore) B-Line
- Hastings B-Line
- 41 Ave B-Line
- Hwy 7 B-Line
- Hwy 1 B-Line
- Hwy 99 B-Line
- 200 St B-Line
The Leap Ahead plan concludes that a 0.5% regional sales tax is the most comprehensive and affordable solution to fund the region’s share of the plan. Voter-approved regional sales taxes have been successfully introduced in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Denver for similar transit expansions. With a 2% decrease in the federal GST and 0.5% decrease in the PST over the last decade, there is room for the proposed sales tax. A 0.5% regional sales tax would amount to just $0.35 per day, per resident.
The Leap Ahead plan will:
- Provide $21.5 billion in economic returns and produce a net benefit of $15 billion for taxpayers
- Support 234,000 jobs over 30 years
- 33 times more than the $1 billion South Fraser Perimeter Road
- Nearly 4 times more than the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline
- Expand the system from 65 to 138 rapid transit stations
- Introduce rapid transit to every part of the region including Surrey, White Rock, Langley, Maple Ridge & the North Shore
“Do not - repeat, do not - junk-click this document,” said Gordon Price who is the director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University. “This one you want to read. I've seen enough of these proposals to know that Pachal and Hillsdon and have a pretty realistic sense of what kind of transit system might make sense for our future, and an idea for funding that might have a realistic chance of passage.”
“Whether you care about the future of Metro Vancouver or just the short-term politics of transit funding and referenda, Pachal and Hillsdon have some ideas worth considering,” Price continued. “At this point, they may have the only ideas worth considering, since everyone else seems to be waiting for somebody else to lead. And they have.”
The entire plan, including additional benefits, history, and route maps, can be downloaded from the document archive.