Victoria region task force to examine light-rail funding

As work begins identifying local funding sources to pay for a portion of a proposed billion-dollar light rail transit system, residents are rallying behind the project.

The community-based group LRT 4 CRD emerged on Facebook last week. Public support for the initiative was immediate and members promptly launched www.LRT4CRD.ca on Sunday.

The website features a petition calling on the provincial and federal governments to fund two-thirds of the total build-out of a light-rail system, leaving the region’s municipalities to generate about $250 million.

Residents have a right to be concerned with the price tag, but the system’s eventual return should be reassuring, said Chris Foord, spokesperson for LRT 4 CRD.

“We will measure (the payback) in decades and centuries, not in years,” said Foord, a transportation planner who also chairs the CRD Traffic Safety Commission, and is a former B.C. Transit marketing manager.

He said a public voice championing light rail is needed to as the project circulates among governing bodies for endorsement.

The Capital Regional District board recommended May 11 that a task force, jointly led by B.C. Transit and the CRD, be created to pinpoint local ways of paying for light rail.

“There’s a limit to how much detail we can get into until we know what (provincial and federal) help we’re going to get with it,” said CRD board chair Geoff Young. “But certainly we can start talking about the options for paying for it.”

The LRT proposal was slated to go before the Victoria Regional Transit Commission Tuesday, after press time Monday. Pending that, B.C. Transit’s provincial board of directors will be asked to endorse light rail on May 26.

If that happens, B.C. Transit’s rapid-transit business case will be finalized and then submitted June 1 to the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure for approval.

In the meantime, it’s important to brainstorm local sources of money to be ready if the provincial and federal governments green light the project, said Erinn Pinkerton, B.C. Transit director of corporate and strategic planning.

“What if (provincial and federal approval) happened very quickly, and they come to us and say, ‘locals, do you have your share together?’” she said.

emccracken@vicnews.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Hundreds celebrate Year of the Rat in Victoria’s Chinatown

Lion dancers and kung fu demonstrations on display

Camosun student shares story of overcoming struggles to inspire others

Provincial Tuition Waiver Program helps former youths in care attend post-secondary institutions

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

Most Read