British Columbia providing C$479 million to TransLink to stabilize finances

March 16, 2023
The funding will not only help TransLink bridge funding gaps, but support its planned expansion and help maintain current service levels.

The government of British Columbia is contributing C$479 million (US$348.47 million) to TransLink to help address the agency’s financial challenges, maintain service levels and support its planned expansion efforts.

“Hundreds of thousands of people rely on TransLink’s service every day to get to work, travel to school and access all parts of the region,” said British Columbia Premier David Eby. “Failing to act now would lead to higher fares, fewer buses on the road and reduced service across the board. We won’t let that happen.”

The funding commitment from the provincial government is in response to requests made by TransLink’s Board of Directors and the TransLink Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation. The Mayors’ Council outlined a series of actions in February 2023 it wanted to see taken at the provincial and federal governments to help manage financial hardships faced by TransLink. This request included C$500 million (US$363.75 million) in emergency funding to be split evenly between the governments of Canada and British Columbia. The provincial government prioritized funding and committed to working with the federal government on a potential funding partnership given the severity of the financial challenges being faced.

“Accessible public transit is critical for the region’s economic, social and environmental health now and into the future,” said British Columbia Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming. “The province will continue discussions with the federal government on a potential funding partnership. However, given TransLink’s significant and immediate needs, the province is taking action with this funding stabilization to address TransLink’s short-term operating funding needs, preventing layoffs and maintaining transit services that will create jobs and reduce traffic congestion and air pollution, which benefits residents and visitors to Metro Vancouver.”

The provincial funding will allow TransLink to maintain actions on five fronts, including:

  • Keeping fares stable
  • Supporting public transit infrastructure and services
  • Avoiding service cuts
  • Continuing to provide free public transit for kids 12 and younger
  • Enabling transit expansion plans needed to respond to growing communities

TransLink is not alone among peer agencies in facing a tight financial situation in the current environment that includes escalating costs and shifting commuting patterns. While long-term projections anticipate finances to improve, the contribution from the provincial government will help stabilize TransLink’s finances in the short term and allow the authority to continue to advance capital projects in its 2022 investment plan, including TransLink’s battery-electric bus fleet expansion to 155 buses by 2025. The funding will increase service on TransLink’s busiest routes through strategic service reallocation, expand RapidBus lines to relieve congestion in high-growth corridors, increase active transportation investments and support transit-oriented communities.

“I’d like to thank the provincial government for providing certainty to nearly 400,000 people who depend on our transit system every day. This significant funding package will allow us to maintain our transit service levels for the immediate future. We will continue our important work to secure new sources of long-term revenue and investment for much-needed expansion projects outlined in the Mayors’ Council’s 10-year priorities,” said TransLink CEO Kevin Quinn.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.