Regional and Municipal Transit is an issue of growing concern; especially with Greyhound bus services ending in late October. Increasing the livability of Squamish means improving access to affordable transportation in town and throughout the corridor.
Several months ago, when first we heard the news of Greyhound services ending, I began a petition in Squamish to address our current gas prices. This relates to regional and municipal transit as we are being charged the same amount for gas per liter as the lower mainland, without the benefit of a transportation levy. We are losing in approximate of more than $5 Million a year in potential revenue that could be used to directly fund transportation services. Stations are charging what the market will bear, which includes the transit levy in the GVA, without any benefit to Squamish or abilty to contribute to regional transit, except through property taxes.
My solution would be a mixed approach: begin talks with the Provincial Government for a transportation levy in Squamish, (gas prices are in line with that now) continue partnerships with other municipalities in the corridor, petition the Transportation Board to allow the expansion of transportation business such as the Squamish Connector and re-address concerns with the Competition Bureau to ensure the gas-gouging stops.
I would also like to see Squamish transit move to renewable bio fuels and electric buses, with more charging stations and electric vehicle infrastructure increased in Squamish through incentives and requirements for new builds. Vancouver has a green transportation plan reaching to 2050. Vancouver is brining in electric buses using part of it’s gas levy for their purchase. Let build sustainable transit in Squamish.
This should ensure a fair gas price, revenue to support growing transportation infrastructure, small business growth to supplement public transportation and greater collaboration with neighboring municipalities, decreasing our carbon footprint, and alleviating the burden on the highway through increases in transit ridership. I would like Squamish to set goals for several decades into the future, not just look at our immediate circumstance, so we have sustainable transport of all kinds with supporting infrastructure.