Feds renew gas tax fund with B.C. cities
Coralee Oakes, MLA, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development (left), James Moore, MP, Minister of Industry (centre) and Rhona Martin, President of the Unions of B.C. (right) sign an agreement for the renewed federal Gas Tax Fund that provides funding for infrastructure across the province during a press conference in Vancouver, B.C. on Thursday May 22, 2014. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
B.C. municipalities will get $2.76 billion over the next 10 years to spend on everything from public transit to environmental cleanups, as part of an agreement signed Thursday to renew the federal Gas Tax Fund.
"B.C. will be getting its fair share," said James Moore, federal industry minister, who signed the agreement with the province and the Union of BC Municipalities at a ceremony in Vancouver.
What's new about the new agreement is that B.C. municipalities will be given a wider range of options when it comes to spending the money. Eligible investments now include disaster mitigation, regional and local airports, and non-professional sports venues.
Between 2006 and 2012, the fund bankrolled nearly 2,000 B.C. infrastructure projects, and during the last construction season, $28.5 million from the fund refurbished 114 TransLink vehicles.
The amount of money B..C receives is calculated on the basis of total population, meaning that Metro Vancouver will be getting just over half of the provincial money. Raymond Louie, vice-chair of the Metro Vancouver board of directors and a Vancouver city councillor who attended the announcement, said 95% of the region’s share will go to support TransLink and transportation.
"Transit is our priority," he said.