Monday, July 25, 2022

TransLink’s current and future plans to invest billions into transit vehicle renewal

The federal Gas Tax Fund, now called the Canada Community-Building Fund, is a permanent federal funding program to support local governments. In Metro Vancouver, all municipalities decided to direct 95% of this funding to support TransLink renewal projects. TransLink is required, among other things, to get approval from the Metro Vancouver Regional District board about how they plan to invest these funds and provide an annual report on how they used them.

Since the program started in 2005, TransLink has received over $1.6 billion to keep the transit system in a state of good repair.

TransLink uses this funding to purchase or refurbish buses, SkyTrain cars, maintenance vehicles, elevators, and escalators. Sometimes TransLink uses this funding for larger projects such as a new Marpole Transit Centre or renewed of the Port Coquitlam Transit Centre. Transit Centres are where buses are stored and maintained.

TransLink currently has $910 million in active projects at the end of 2021.

If TransLink wants to change the scope of its projects that use the Canada Community-Building Fund, it must get approval from the Metro Vancouver Regional District board. TransLink is requesting that $74.3 million be put back into the funding pool. The number of new buses needed over the next decade will be less due to lower transit ridership because of the COVID-19 pandemic. TransLink can also reduce the number of original Mark I SkyTrain cars that need to be refurbished from 36 to 13 as a result of “a comprehensive condition assessment.”

If the board reduces the scope, there will be $327.9 million left in the funding pool. The funding, combined with the ongoing top-up of the fund by the federal government, will allow TransLink to invest an additional $1.6 billion over the next eight years to renew the transit fleets. The funding will be primarily used to purchase new trolley, battery electric and renewable natural gas buses.

For more information, please read the July 14th agenda of the Metro Vancouver Regional District Finance Committee.


Anonymous said...

Does the Federal Gas Tax Fund come from the sale of fuel to ICE vehicles? And does that have anything to do with the rather "slick" name change? And how are EV drivers able to contribute thru taxation? Thanks! 😀

Anonymous said...

I’m not sure of the details of the federal program, but it is more of a fix transfer than actually tied to gas tax.