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Metro chair asks candidates to tackle transit funding

While the rural vote has become more significant in this leadership race, Metro Vancouver chair Lois Jackson is urging both parties to reflect on the pressures facing the province's largest urban area.

Metro Vancouver is home to half of the province's residents, noted Jackson in a letter sent to media and leadership candidates, and is burdened with looming infrastructure, housing and service costs. She wrote:

"We lack an appropriate governance model for linking transportation and land-use planning," she wrote. "The original purpose for the establishment of TransLink was to bring transportation decision making closer to the people of Metro Vancouver and to integrate it with decision making on land use planning.  However, many would argue that this purpose has not been achieved. . .

"As the regional political body for the 2.3 million people who call this wonderful region home, we are asking the leadership candidates to consider how they would tackle these problems and what their individual visions for the region might be."

Last month asked Liberal leadership candidates a series of urban-focused questions, including one on funding transit. They published responses from Christy Clark, George Abbott and Moira Stilwell (who has since dropped out of the race).

Abbott told City Caucus he would be willing to have a discussion around eliminating Air Care and transferring those funds to TransLink.

"Clearly we need to examine innovative ways to bring needed resources to areas of importance like public transit in Metro Vancouver. This may be one opportunity, although we must also be clear on the implications of this change," he stated.

Clark also said she would be willing to consider this option.

A spokesperson for NDP leadership candidate Adrian Dix told The Tyee in an email that Dix "is committed to using carbon tax revenues for climate solutions and that does include transit funding. As the campaign progresses, he will be saying more on transit issues."

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Tyee.

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