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A historic compromise between regional mayors and the province has sealed the deal on the largest transit investment in British Columbia history, with a $7.1-billion package that includes two rapid-transit lines in the Vancouver region.

The announcement Friday reveals how the latest phase of federal infrastructure money will affect B.C. — namely, to help pay for a 10-year plan for transit in the Lower Mainland that stalled amid funding disputes with the provincial government.

“This is a large win for transit users, drivers, cyclists,” said Derek Corrigan, chair of the local mayors’ council on transit who is also the mayor of Burnaby. Mr. Corrigan, often a critic of overly ambitious spending plans and property-tax increases, said even he voted for the new deal. The arrangement will mean increases in property taxes, fares, parking taxes and development fees because of the province’s willingness to chip in money so the last puzzle piece could be placed for the huge investment.

In contrast to the history of transit funding battles in B.C. and the struggles in Toronto over a single subway line, the federal, provincial and regional governments for the Lower Mainland agreed on their share of the contributions: $2-billion from Ottawa, around $2.5-billion from the province, and the remainder from the regional transportation agency, TransLink.

A major obstacle had been the cities’ share – which had previously been pegged at $70-million. The province has agreed to cover $30-million of that, leaving $40-million that local governments must cover.

“They [the provincial government] helped to close that gap with us which was a step beyond what we could have expected,” Mr. Corrigan said.

The total funding package money will cover both capital and operating costs that were part of a $7.5-billion, 10-year plan for improving transit agreed on by local mayors four years ago. The plan includes new light-rail service in Surrey and an east-west extension to Vancouver’s SkyTrain network known as the Broadway Subway line.

Kevin Desmond, CEO of TransLink, said the region needs the improved transit. “This is great timing as over 200,000 jobs are coming over the next 10 years,” he said. “We need to keep up with that growth.”

The Trudeau government was elected partly on a promise to significantly boost infrastructure spending, and federal budgets have outlined billions of dollars for major projects across the country. The first phase involved nearly $12-billion in spending over five years to help provincial and local governments plan major projects and repair existing infrastructure.

The federal government plans to spend $33-billion over the next 10 years on Phase 2. Deals with the provinces and territories are expected throughout the month.

Earlier in the week, the federal government announced nearly $5-billion to fund projects in Toronto, notably a new downtown subway line.

In B.C., the province’s NDP government, which came to power last year, has already taken over the replacement for the Pattullo Bridge between Surrey and New Westminster, which was originally part of the mayors’ plan for improving transit.

That removed more than a billion from the overall amount needed for Friday’s announcement.

The three levels of government had already agreed two years ago to $2.1-billion in spending for Phase 1 of the transit plan.

For both phases, the federal government agreed to cover some operating costs, an unusual move in the history of transit funding.

Besides covering the cost of the two new rapid-transit lines, the Phase 2 funding will provide $1-billion for upgrades to the existing Expo and Millennium rapid-transit lines, including items like power upgrades so that more trains can be operated on the same line.

Between both phases, the transportation agency will add 900,000 hours of bus service to the region, which is almost as much as BC Transit provides to all other communities in the province outside the Lower Mainland.

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