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Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Elected as a Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly for the Constituency of Saanich South on May 12, 2009. New Democratic Opposition Critic for the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands. Raised on Quadra Island and has an undergraduate degree from the University of British Columbia. Extensive track record as a community leader, advocate and environmental activist.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Connect the dots....................

The funding that we could be using to begin developing a much-needed LRT system in this region keeps passing us by. At what point will our provincial decision makers start connecting the dots when it comes to funding a strong economy and sustainability?

We watched a ton of money come and go last summer in the form of individual $100 carbon cheques. This money, distributed by the government, was to offset the carbon tax that gasoline consumers started paying in July 08. The government distributed $440 million dollars across British Columbia. If we had pooled our cheques for this region we would have had about $33- million to begin bringing LRT to Greater Victoria. Using carbon tax funding to invest in a regional transportation solution would have been smart and progressive. This government is not there.

A regional LRT system is where we need to go to meet our carbon-reduction targets. Waiting for the guaranteed ridership levels to increase, waiting for pollution to get bad enough, or waiting for the moment when it takes 2 hours to get from the Westshore into Victoria due to traffic snarls, is inappropriate. We only need to look at Portland, Oregon , to know it’s a mistake to wait.

Money invested in LRT in this region will create jobs and stimulate our economy while moving in a direction that we are talking about going. We need government to stop using the word sustainability if they are not prepared to fast track sustainable projects. I don't want my tax money being used to fund single occupancy vehicle projects, such as massive traffic interchanges, I want my tax money solving problems.

Lana Popham

Saanich South