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BCSEA salutes City of Victoria’s stand on climate action for transportation

Tom Hackney, Victoria Chapter Co-Chair
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

BCSEA salutes the City of Victoria for asking Prime Minister Trudeau to fully implement the part of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Climate Action that calls for “supporting the shift from higher to lower-emitting types of transportation,” and “enhanc[ing] investments in public transit upgrades and expansions.”

In her letter to the PM, Mayor Lisa Helps first praises the recent federal support for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations and then writes:

In the Capital Regional District, 56% of inventoried climate pollution in 2010 was from transportation, making transportation by far the largest opportunity for improvement in reducing carbon emissions. Between 1990 and 2014 climate pollution from road transportation increased by 43% in British Columbia, demonstrating the need for action.

The Pan-Canadian Framework commits the federal and provincial governments to “shift from higher to lower-emitting types of transportation, including through investing in infrastructure.” Examples of this shift include shifting from private motor-vehicles to transit and cycling as well as shifting freight from trucks to rail. This shift in investment is complementary to many City of Victoria and regional policies and priorities, including the Victoria Transit Future Plan, which states that “Major investments in expanding the road network to accommodate the private automobile do not align with local, regional and provincial planning aspirations.”

Therefore, on behalf of Victoria City Council, we request the prompt and complete implementation of the commitments under the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change to help shift investments “from higher to lower-emitting types of transportation” within the Capital Regional District, and across the country.

Reducing spending on urban highway expansion would allow increased spending on electric public transit, safe walking and cycling facilities, and other measures to accelerate zero-emission options.  As stated in BC Transit’s Transit Future Plan - Victoria Region (May 2011):

Meeting the demands of the forecasted population and traffic growth in the Victoria region requires a shift in focus from moving vehicles to moving people. In the past, government at all levels has attempted to build its way out of traffic congestion by expanding the road network, but this has only resulted in temporary success.

The provincial government has committed to a comprehensive climate action strategy to meet the GHG reduction targets, including sectoral targets and planning.  This will necessarily include transportation.

Special thanks to Councillors Ben Isitt and Jeremy Loveday who brought the motion before Victoria Council.  

The BCSEA and the City of Victoria will be watching for the prompt and complete implementation of this and all parts of the Pan-Canadian Framework.