To keep our economy growing and to keep our communities strong, we must continue to enhance connectivity, safety and mobility across our transportation networks while keeping in mind the following opportunities and challenges.
Our infrastructure is aging. Much of our transportation infrastructure has been in use for more than half a century, with all the resulting wear and tear you might expect. This underlines the need for ongoing maintenance and rehabilitation to protect our stock of transportation assets, valued at more than $100 billion.
Our population is growing. By 2025, an additional 1 million people will be living in British Columbia, adding to existing demands on our roads, bridges, ferries and transit systems. We’re also aging, with seniors representing a growing proportion of the total population.
Our resource sectors are rapidly expanding. This is putting additional pressure on rural British Columbia, especially in the North, where the energy sector is attracting billions of dollars in new private sector investment. Although the resources are located in the North, their development affects the whole supply chain – from access to the land, to access to markets – especially since a lot of our products are destined for export.
Travel choices are changing. In urban areas, many more people are choosing to walk, cycle or take public transit; infrastructure development needs to factor in these choices. In addition, more people are commuting long distances – for example, to work in the resource sectors – and need to depend on a reliable
Environmental impacts can be reduced. Transportation is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. But every step we take to improve efficiency helps to minimize the impact. Expanding pedestrian, cycling and transit infrastructure, along with new approaches such as powering ferries with natural gas instead of diesel will help reduce environmental impacts.
Highway safety must continue to improve. Since 2003, the number of vehicle collisions in the province has dropped by 28%, thanks in part to safety improvements on highways, roads and bridges. As we move forward with new investments, we can build on this record and make our transportation systems even safer for British Columbians.
Keeping transportation improvements affordable. Fiscal discipline towards balancing the budget remains a key focus while supporting economic growth, job creation and initiatives to benefit British Columbians.