The Federal Government released its budget yesterday. I want to tell you about what it means for Vancouver.
First, it’s good news for transit riders. There’s a commitment for $370M right away for Metro Vancouver. That means we can get started on important design work for major projects like the Broadway Subway.
The government is also upping its share of funding to 50% of major transit projects – a big shift, and one that will benefit local taxpayers and get shovels into the ground to build new projects and improve existing service faster.
These are important steps forward. I’m pleased to see them included in this budget.
Second, there are new commitments on housing.
There’s an increase in funding for new homeless shelters and rental housing. There’s a commitment to create a National Housing Strategy.
These are policies that Vancouver and cities across the country have been advocating for. To deal effectively with the housing challenge in Vancouver, we need an active federal government at the table with us.
We want to put these new dollars into action and get projects going as quickly as possible. I’ll be joining other Metro Mayors for a meeting with the Minister for Infrastructure on Thursday to discuss how we can expedite funding for our priority transit projects — not just the Broadway Subway, but more buses and more frequent service.
We’ll be reaching out to the federal government to ask them to work with us on shaping a National Housing Strategy – one that treats housing as a right, not a commodity.
We’re more than ready to step up and do our part. The City has 20 sites of land – worth $250 million – that we have offered up for partnering with the federal government on to create new affordable homes.
There’s a lot of work ahead. But it’s encouraging to see the federal government respond to Vancouver’s priorities and come to the table as a partner to help achieve our goals.