Thursday, February 17, 2011

BC Budget 2011

So, I had a look at the 2011 BC Budget to see what I could see with regards to transportation. But first, I think it's worth pointing out that in BC 61% of tax is now consumption based.

Looking at the Ministry of Transportation Service Plan there is still talk about climate change and the goal to raise public transit mode share in Metro Vancouver to 22% by 2030.
Climate Action Targets are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 6 per cent by 2012, 18 per cent by 2016, and 33 per cent by 2020. Meeting these targets will require significant investment in transit and cycling infrastructure and services, new emission-reducing initiatives for all modes of transport, new emissions standards, and the use of new technologies to reduce fuel consumption.
Oddly there is still the goal to build more roads to help extract more fossil fuel. It seem like the Province has multiple personality disorder when it comes to environmental protection and resource extraction.

What is interesting to note is that operational spending on public transit and BC Ferries is going up by 21% while sending on highway operation will go down by 1%. Sadly, the province plans to keep cycling spending static at $3 million for the next few years. On the bright side, the province now spends around half of its transportation capital on transit with that number planned to increase to 69% in 2013. That is pretty impressive. Of course the next big project is the Evergreen Line.
In addition to these investments, the Province is leading transit planning initiatives that will identify future infrastructure requirements including: improved transit services for the Fraser Valley; future potential transit use of the E&N Rail Corridor on Vancouver Island; Regional Transit Studies for Greater Victoria and the Central Okanagan. Finally, the Province is working with TransLink in detailed planning work to evaluate options for future rapid transit services to UBC and Surrey.
Port Mann Highway 1 Project is a separate line item on the budget as more money will be spent on that project ($717m) than every other non-transit project in the province ($690m). Insane!

On a different note, the Agricultural Land Commission's budget is being cut by 6% or $2 million dollar. With the agency short-staffed as it is, I don't know how it will be able to protect our agricultural land. Thanks to Wilma from SFAN for pointing this out to me.

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