November 6th, 2012
To: Premier Christy Clark, Minister Mary Polak, Ian Jarvis, and the Mayor’s Council on Regional Transportation
From: Youth Alumni of TransLink’s B.C. Youth Summit on Sustainable Transportation
Re: Call for sustainable and equitable funding of public transit
Dear Premier Christy Clark, Minister Mary Polak, Ian Jarvis, and the Mayor’s Council on Regional Transportation:
As youth of Metro Vancouver, we have a deep concern and vested interest in the future of transportation in the region. Indicators suggest that car ridership among youth is dropping across North America. Instead, we are choosing to walk, cycle, or take public transit. We need funding dedicated to public transit to reflect this new reality. The lack of bold leadership at all political levels threatens our collective future in a livable region.
We, former delegates of TransLink’s 2011 B.C. Youth Summit for Sustainable Transportation, call on all of our elected leaders to realize that providing sustainable and equitable funding of public transit is the right thing to do and the smart political choice. Our leaders must recognize that when they play hardball with transit, it is youth—one of the most vulnerable groups in society—who suffer the most. If we are to embrace the livable, just region that we all aspire to, our governments and politicians must make the difficult choice to come together for a common vision.
Such compromises will not be easy, but we are not asking you because it is easy. We are asking you because it is necessary. Properly funding public transit will ensure an economically vibrant, socially just, and environmentally sustainable future for everyone in Vancouver. We face an uncertain future of climate change, skyrocketing gas prices, concerns about peak oil, and mounting obesity. Providing real transportation options for the region has never been more critical.
We welcome the growth in the number of people taking sustainable transportation for their trips as reported in TransLink’s 2011 Trip Diary Survey, reflecting the hard work TransLink and the municipalities of Metro Vancouver have been doing. However, we can do better, and we have to do better. We need transit improvements along the Broadway Corridor. We need transit expansion south of the Fraser.
But we are optimistic, and we are not alone. There are legions of youth who look forward to a region where there are real, comprehensive transportation options available. We are volunteers in the community. We are students learning about an increasingly complex world. We are some of the youngest staff and directors of transportation-oriented non-profits. We are among the next generation of urban planners, engineers, business leaders, educators, researchers, environmentalists, and politicians. We are the ones who stand to inherit this region.
We are ready and willing to make a meaningful contribution. We ask that you, our elected representatives, make the right choice. Make the bold decision to work together, put aside political differences, and help create a better region for all of us.
Robert W. White