RELEASE: It’s time to start finding fair solutions to traffic gridlock

Better Transit and Transportation Coalition says it’s time for a healthy debate – but not an argument – about cutting traffic gridlock in Metro Vancouver; Coalition welcomes Mobility Pricing Independent Commission report as way to start finding fair solutions

VANCOUVER – It’s time for a healthy debate – but not an argument – about how to cut traffic gridlock and health-damaging air pollution and improve our economy in Metro Vancouver – and mobility pricing is a proven and fair way forward, says the region’s transit and transportation coalition.

The Better Transit and Transportation Coalition welcomed today’s Mobility Pricing Independent Commission final report presented to the Metro Vancouver Mayors’ Council, saying the region must learn from other cities how to reduce commute times and the traffic gridlock that leaves tens of thousands of drivers and transit riders fuming.

“We need a healthy debate – but not an argument – about finding solutions that work fairly to make transit and transportation in Metro Vancouver work better for all of us,” says Coalition Chair Peter Ladner.

“The Mobility Pricing Independent Commission has started that conversation and we need to have the political courage to explore the next steps toward changing the way we pay for transportation to improve mobility in an equitable way.”

“Different methods of paying can reduce gridlock and commute times while increasing our ability to move goods and workers efficiently so both our economy and our residents benefit,” he said.

The Coalition is comprised of more than 140 organizations from a wide variety of sectors, including labour, business, environmental, public health, anti-poverty, student associations, professional groups and more – all committed to improved transit and transportation.

Ladner says that the most important thing about today’s Mobility Pricing Independent Commission final report is that it shows us a way forward and gives the region an opportunity to explore different costs and benefits – with an underlying commitment to fairness for everyone.

“The fairness dimensions identified by the Commission – equity, distance, income levels, purpose of travel and other factors – are critical and must be properly addressed if mobility pricing is going to provide the solutions we need,” Ladner says.

But Ladner adds that headlines about possible costs are misleading because the existing costs are not transparent to the public.

“It’s important not to overreact to the potential costs of reducing gridlock,” says Ladner. “We are all paying for gridlock now.”

“This report opens up a discussion on some more effective ways to keep our roads moving, even with massive population growth.  We all want more time for our families, friends and ourselves – time that is wasted sitting in stalled traffic or waiting for delayed buses, whether in Surrey or Vancouver or Maple Ridge,” he said.

“And anyone who drives somewhere at rush hour and compares that trip to a drive back home late at night already understands what ‘traffic decongestion’ actually means – and how it saves valuable time.”

Ladner said the benefits of reducing traffic congestion are enormous.

“We can improve our health – not only by cutting deadly air pollution – but simply by spending less time sitting in vehicles; we can improve our economy by getting the goods we export from B.C. faster to market; we can improve our quality of life by spending less time on the road,” said Ladner, also Chair of the David Suzuki Foundation.

“And it all starts with figuring out together how we can fairly change the way we pay for transportation to improve mobility – and this report is an excellent start,” he said.

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