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Transportation

Team Mandate

  1. Advocacy and Policy Reports/Statements on transportation: air, border, rail, road, water
  2. Transportation Events/Education

For more information or to join, contact Anne Peterson.


Resources

Surrey’s 2016 Bike Map now available

The City of Surrey’ 2016 Bike Map is now available. This updated map shows Surrey’s complete cycling network, which includes bike lanes, multi-use pathways, and neighbourhood cycling routes. The map handily folds down to easily fit in a pocket.

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Cycling enthusiasts can access the map in one of three ways:

  1. Pick up a complimentary copy at any City facility, including libraries and recreation centres.
  2. Access the map on any mobile device by downloading the ‘MySurrey App
  3. Have a map mailed to you by submitting a ‘Transportation Planning Inquiry

Production of the annual Bike Map is a part of Surrey’s Cycling Plan which sets a vision for the expansion of cycling as a safe and convenient transportation choice for Surrey residents and visitors. This vision includes a policy that all new Surrey transportation projects must be bicycle-friendly which means that cycling improvements such as bike lanes are integrated into Surrey streets to accommodate cyclists. More information about cycling in Surrey.


Recent Presentations

April 8, 2016 – Mobility Pricing Dialogue

Louise Yako – BC Trucking Association

Nancy Olewiler – SFU

Jim Whitty – Oregon’s Per Mile Usage Charge


Issues

The issue: George Massey Tunnel

What it’s about: Surrey Board of Trade Supports the Replacement of the George Massey Tunnel and Wants a Coordinated Regional Tolling Policy

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The Surrey Board of Trade is initiating an education and advocacy program in support of Mobility Pricing as the preferred option for funding future infrastructure and transit projects and calls for a coordinated regional tolling policy for all existing transportation infrastructure and all future transportation infrastructure.

Co-ordinated regional planning for infrastructure and tolling policy is desperately needed to ensure that no area is unduly penalized by unequal tolling practices. The movement of goods and services will be severely impacted when business and commuters are driven to use the only non-tolled options because the alternative is too expensive for small business bottom lines and average family budgets.

On January 7th the Surrey Board of Trade, in partnership with the South Surrey/White Rock Chamber of Commerce, surveyed their members about the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project. The survey was enhanced with questions about funding models for the George Massey Tunnel replacement and the impending Patullo Bridge replacement specifically.

The analysis of the responses indicates that more education is needed regarding Mobility or Road Pricing and the SBOT will host a Surrey Leadership Dialogue event to assist in that process on April 8, 2016 from 7:30-9:30a.m. at Eaglequest Golf Course.

While more members supported an individual toll as the preferred method for funding any specific new infrastructure over mobility pricing, 60% of respondents supported adding tolls to existing infrastructure in support of new infrastructure and ongoing maintenance. 34.5% did not support tolls on existing infrastructure and 5.5% were not concerned about new tolls on existing infrastructure.

Current provincial legislation requires a plebiscite for any new funding streams proposed for TransLink infrastructure projects but not for provincial projects such as the George Massey Tunnel replacement.  Without a combined effort of provincial and regional transportation authorities leading a sustained educational campaign, voter support for any required regional funding increase will be unlikely to succeed.


The issue: Annual Surrey Road and Traffic Improvement Outlook

What it’s about: The Surrey Board of Trade conducted a Road and Traffic Improvement survey in November 2015 to seek input from our members about improvements to transportation infrastructure in the City of Surrey. While CEO Anita Huberman is chairing the Surrey Light Rail Committee in conjunction with Surrey and the Business

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community, the survey was specific to the Surrey Budget planning process and not inclusive of regional transportation or Light Rail issues.

While Surrey is in desperate need of the Light Rail Project, the city has a large road network that is seeing increasing population of commuter and commercial usage. Our members are providing a valuable resource of their daily issues of commuting and working in Surrey that should assist the Council and the Engineering Department in the decision making process of where to invest the transportation and road budget.

Our 2,100 members were asked the following questions;

  1. What road and traffic improvements would you like to see the City of Surrey undertake in the 2016 budget?
  2. Which intersection or road requires the most immediate upgrades for safety or traffic management?
  3. What recommendations would you make to Surrey for long term traffic management and budget focus?

Members responded with a series of concerns, some due to safety and some due to efficiency of movement of people and goods.

The three intersections deemed the most in need of improvements for safety and efficiency were:

  1. King George Boulevard and 104 Avenue,
  2. King George Boulevard and 88 Avenue
  3. Fraser Highway and 152nd St.

Specific comments from our members included: widening of various roads such as Fraser Highway from King George Boulevard to 148th, resurfacing of many roads deemed to have too many hazardous bumps, adoption of a “complete streets” methodology with sidewalks and bicycle infrastructure included in all new roads and refurbishments and expansion of specific roads where residential growth is occurring in advance of the residential developments becoming populated instead of after completion.

Other general comments to improve road and traffic flow included:

“Cease commercial development on the corner of intersections.”
“Push the ingress/egress for such developments as far away from the intersection as possible.”
“Lengthen left-hand turn lanes on major intersections.”

We look forward to sharing the results of our member survey with the Surrey Engineering department to improve the movement of people and commercial traffic in Surrey each year.

The Surrey Board of Trade Directors have approved making this survey an annual process to ensure business input towards the Surrey Road and Traffic improvement process.


The issue: Revisiting the Provincial Tolling Policy

What it’s about: A renewed vision on an equitable pricing strategy to move people and goods in the Lower Mainland and the Province is required. Changes will be necessary to the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Funding Referenda Act[1] to allow for economic growth not only for the region, but expanding

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movement of goods into all corners of BC.

This last decade has been an intense period of infrastructure construction and rehabilitation to respond to the needs of the national and international gateway. The needs of a growing population in the Lower Mainland have spurred improvements in highway and bridge construction ameliorating congestion to some degree. Residents and businesses are now facing an enormous price for this, and the most critical question being, who pays? Tolling new infrastructure is the obvious answer. The Lions Gate, Oak and Queensborough Bridges were all tolled at one point, and the tolls removed upon payment of debt.

Road pricing (also road user charges) are direct charges levied for the use of roads, including road tolls, distance or time based fees, congestion charges and charges designed to discourage use of certain classes of vehicle, fuel sources or more polluting vehicles. These charges may be used primarily for revenue generation, usually for road infrastructure financing, or as a transportation demand management tool to reduce peak hour travel and the associated traffic congestion or other social and environmental negative externalities associated with road travel such as air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, visual intrusion, noise and road accidents

In most countries toll roads, toll bridges and toll tunnels are often used primarily for revenue generation to repay for long-term debt issued to finance the toll facility, or to finance capacity expansion, operations and maintenance of the facility itself, or simply as general tax funds. Road congestion pricing for entering an urban area, or pollution charges levied vehicles with higher tailpipe emissions are typical schemes implemented to price externalities. The application of congestion charges is currently limited to a small number of cities and urban roads, and the notable schemes include the Electronic Road Pricing in Singapore, the London congestion charge, the Stockholm congestion tax, the Milan Area C, and high-occupancy toll lanes in the United States. Examples of pollution pricing schemes include the London low emission zone and the discontinued Ecopass in Milan. Mileage based usage fees (MBUF) or distance based charging has been implemented for heavy vehicles based on truck weight and distance traveled in New Zealand (called RUC), Switzerland (LSVA), Germany (LKW-Maut), Austria (Go-Maut), Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and in four U.S. states: Oregon, New York, Kentucky and New Mexico.

Many recent road pricing schemes have proved controversial with a number of high profile schemes in the U.S. and the UK being cancelled, delayed or scaled back in response to opposition and protest. Critics maintain that congestion pricing is not equitable, places an economic burden on neighboring communities, has a negative effect on retail businesses and on economic activity in general, and is just another tax. A 2006 survey of economic literature on the subject, however, finds that most economists agree that some form of road pricing to reduce congestion is economically viable, although there is disagreement on what form road pricing should take. Economists disagree over how to set tolls, how to cover common costs, what to do with any excess revenues, how tolling previously free roads should be compensated, and whether to privatize highway.

The Surrey Board of Trade initiated an education and advocacy program in support of Mobility Pricing as the preferred option for funding future infrastructure and transit projects and calls for a coordinated regional tolling policy for all existing transportation infrastructure and all future transportation infrastructure.

Coordinated regional planning for infrastructure and tolling policy is desperately needed to ensure that no area is unduly penalized by unequal tolling practices. The movement of goods and services will be severely impacted when business and commuters are driven to use the only non-tolled options because the alternative is too expensive for small business bottom lines and average family budgets.

While more members supported an individual toll as the preferred method for funding any specific new infrastructure over mobility pricing, 60% of respondents supported adding tolls to existing infrastructure in support of new infrastructure and ongoing maintenance. 34.5% did not support tolls on existing infrastructure and 5.5% were not concerned about new tolls on existing infrastructure.

Current provincial legislation requires a plebiscite for any new funding streams proposed for TransLink infrastructure projects but not for provincial projects such as the George Massey Tunnel replacement. Without a combined effort of provincial and regional transportation authorities leading a sustained educational campaign, voter support for any required regional funding increase will be unlikely to succeed.

In 2008, the Surrey Board of Trade created a discussion paper that presented a number of requirements before tolling should be applied. For example, only when all fuel levies are applied to infrastructure; used only for the specific structure tolled and removed once paid off – or reduced only to cover on-going maintenance; only where clear, demonstrable net benefits can be shown for users; where a free, reasonable alternative exists. As the region matures, tolling may be transformed into a road pricing system where users pay for both infrastructure development and on-going maintenance through smaller fees based on distance traveled or facilities used. This could apply to both main roads as well as bridges. The system could then be used to more effectively manage traffic through a system called Traffic Demand Management (TDM), which could incent traffic to use facilities in non-peak hours with preferential fees. The systems have a universal tolling method for all tolls.

  • Tolling should only be implemented when all gas and related levies (carbon tax, provincial development tax) are dedicated to transportation infrastructure;
  • Tolls should only be used to finance (defray government costs related to) transportation infrastructure that would not otherwise be constructed and should not be used to generate revenue for the provincial treasury;
  • Tolls should be removed once the construction costs have been recovered or modified to a lower rate to cover on-going maintenance;
  • Tolls should only be implemented where there are clear, demonstrable net benefits for the users of new or substantially improved transportation facilities, such as travel-time savings, vehicle operating cost savings, reliability and safety benefits;
  • Toll collection should be achieved by consistent means throughout the province (using one common method of chip or transponder) and should not impede travel;

In the future, the region may wish to consider road pricing/traffic demand management (TDM):
Road Pricing: (applied regionally) implementation of a road pricing policy where smaller tolls are applied across the region with all funds to either infrastructure development and maintenance as well as operating funds for public transportation, ultimately leading to a revised provincial tolling policy.

Recommendation: That the Provincial Government review and amend B.C.’s provincial tolling policy to better understand how different pricing/tolling policy changes could affect the fiscal sustainability of existing and future transportation projects.

[1] South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Funding Referenda Act, Section 34.1(2) and (3). www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/ id/complete/statreg/98030_01


The issue: RideSharing

What it’s about: Ridesharing, the ability of an average driver who has been through appropriate safety screening to use their personal vehicle to connect with a rider via a smartphone, is a key sector in the sharing economy. Ridesharing is currently available in hundreds of cities around the world, providing a new transportation option and

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flexible income opportunities for those wanting to drive. Regulations are required to provide the needed support for innovative transportation provision and reassure the public that the service is safe.

The sharing economy is providing new economic opportunities for individuals and small businesses to increase the utilization of their assets by connecting with new customers via technology. PWC estimates that in 2013 the sharing economy generated $15B in annual revenue compared to $240B in the traditional rental sector. By 2025, it estimates that both sectors will grow to reach $335B for combined revenue of $670B.

BC residents are looking for more transportation options and ways to increase the affordability of living in Metro Vancouver and throughout the province. Ridesharing provides a key opportunity. It has been shown to:

  • Grow the number of rides in a city, e.g., Portland, Denver
  • Decrease impaired driving e.g., MADD, Temple University
  • Complement existing public transit, e.g., Lyft, Uber
  • Reduce car ownership, e.g., LA Times, Suzuki Foundation
  • Encourage passengers to share rides & reduce congestion, e.g., UberPOOL (how it works, why it helps put more people in fewer cars)

Over 70 jurisdictions have adopted regulations that embrace ridesharing. The City of Edmonton was the first Canadian jurisdiction to adopt such rules, and Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Calgary, the province of Quebec, and many other Canadian jurisdictions are bringing forward regulations this spring. The Competition Bureau of Canada has encouraged regulators to support competitive markets by regulating ridesharing and reducing unnecessary red tape on traditional transportation providers.

Ridesharing regulations should be focused on enabling this innovative transportation option, while ensuring public safety and consumer protection. Below are key components of a regulatory regime for ridesharing:

  • Ridesharing companies must obtain a provincial license and pay fees.
  • Ridesharing drivers must have a valid, standard driver’s licence issued by Province.
  • To be allowed on the platform, ridesharing drivers must:
    • Pass a federal criminal background check;
    • Pass an annual vehicle inspection by a certified mechanic;
    • Have valid insurance that meets the requirements established by the Province, and;
    • Have a safe driving record.
  • Ridesharing drivers can only provide service through the use of an app, and the app must provide the customer with the name and photo of the driver, make and model of the vehicle, and licence plate number prior to the trip commencing. This means that no ride is anonymous and provides assurance to the rider that the driver has been authorized to be on the digital platform.
  • The app must provide GPS tracking and allow the rider to share their ride in real time with friends and loved ones, meaning that every trip is tracked.
  • Riders must be provided the fare rate in the app, have the ability to estimate the cost of their fare, and only make payment for the trip electronically through the smartphone app. This also helps reduce the chance of the driver becoming a target for theft.
  • The rider must have the ability to rate every ride through the app to help ensure high quality and safe service.
  • Ridesharing companies must have 24/7 customer service to respond in a timely manner to complaints.
  • Ridesharing drivers would not be permitted to hail, accept cash or use telephone dispatch services, leaving this market to the exclusive domain of taxi companies.

Ridesharing and traditional transportation models can complement each other to better serve British Columbians, just as they do in communities across Canada and around the world. Rather than competing with taxi, apps like Uber appear to be growing the overall transportation pie. This is most likely because ridesharing has attracted a whole new group of passengers, people who cannot regularly afford taxis or drove themselves instead. In Los Angeles, for example, the for-hire vehicle market (which includes taxis, private cars and ridesharing) grew by nearly 400 percent in Uber’s first three years. According to Portland’s regulator, the total number of taxi and ridesharing trips in the city grew by more than 40 percent in the first three months after Uber and Lyft’s arrival.

Regulators in some jurisdictions such as Edmonton have also taken steps to remove unnecessary restrictions from traditional transportation providers, including allowing taxi companies to establish their own training and customer service standards, and set prices when a trip is arranged via a smartphone app that has a fare estimate option.

The provincial government has established the Passenger Transportation Act, ICBC, Motor Vehicle Act and it can provide a province-wide safety standard for ridesharing.

Recommendations: That the Provincial Government:

  1. Bring forward ridesharing regulations that establish province-wide rules for safety and consumer protection.
  2. Evaluate and remove unnecessary red tape on existing transportation providers.

The issue: Ensuring that transit options in Surrey employ Light Rail Technology.

What it’s about: A community coalition, Light Rail Links, was launched to support the City of Surrey’s vision for a new Light Rail Transit (LRT) system to connect communities south of the Fraser River. “We will be talking to everyone – our local communities, TransLink and the BC and Federal Governments – about the immediate

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need for light rail south of the Fraser to ensure that livable, connected, sustainable neighbourhoods are developed,” said Scott Olson, past-President of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board and member of Light Rail Links. “Light Rail Links believes light rail is the most cost-effective and high-quality form of rapid transit to address the needs of our communities and the rapidly increasing population.”

“Experience with light rail systems in other cities such as Portland, Oregon, shows that housing developments and businesses will invest and build near the easy-to-access, at-grade light rail stations. Light rail has been good for business in other jurisdictions, and it will be good for business here in Surrey. Light rail is essential for the South Fraser Region’s economic development,” said Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade and member of Light Rail Links.

Rick Hart, President of the Fleetwood Community Association and member of Light Rail Links said “as a long-term Surrey resident, I believe we can shape communities with transit and light rail is the best option to connect and shape our communities south of the Fraser. We want to make sure that, as Surrey grows, we create communities that are inter-connected and family-friendly.” Light Rail Links recently formed as a result of the growing movement of individuals and groups advocating for Light Rail Transit (LRT) in Surrey. Light Rail Links is made up of community supporters that represent a variety of interests, including business, community and neighbourhood groups and the tourism sectors.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The Surrey Board of Trade has taken an active role in the coalition and is actively advocating for the Light Rail option.

The result: Ongoing advocacy.


The issue: Update – Surrey Board of Trade Applauds 16 Ave Interchange Decision

What it’s about: The business community in Surrey has long been advocating for access to the Grandview Heights commercial district, from Highway 99, and the development of a cross region arterial road to connect Highway 99 with the Abbotsford International Airport, as well as enhance access to Campbell Heights, the

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Aldergrove border crossing, and improve commercial movement across South Surrey, Langley, Aldergrove and Abbotsford.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: On-going advocacy with its business partners.

The result: The City of Surrey, the Province of British Columbia and TransLink have agreed to fund the design work, and construction of an interchange at 16th Avenue and Highway 99. The 16th Avenue corridor is also now designated for upgrading.


The project: Promoting Abbotsford International Airport (YXX) the South Fraser’s airport as the alternative to YVR

What it’s about: YXX, which is owned and operated by the City of Abbotsford has been steadily developing as a viable alternative to Vancouver International (YVR) for passenger traffic originating in the south of Fraser (and now Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge with the Golden Ears Bridge, as well as the Mission areas).  YXX is a fully

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functional airport capable of handling any aircraft flying today, and presents an opportunity to offer service to residents of the region without having to deal with the difficulties of traveling to YVR for all flights.  The prime carrier is WestJet and operates a number of connecting flights to Calgary or Edmonton for further destinations. WestJet and Air Transat also operate holiday charters from YXX. In addition, it is a growing centre for air cargo as well as home to a number of aviation companies. It is also home of the world famous Abbotsford Air Show held each August. YXX is also the backup airport to YVR in the event of an emergency such as flooding or earthquake, which could incapacitate YVR.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The Surrey Board of Trade embarked on a campaign to promote YXX to its members by arranging for special parking for Surrey Board of Trade members using the airport, published several articles and profiles on the airport and in Business in Surrey.  The Surrey Board of Trade promoted and participated in several business to business events at the airport terminal to encourage members to find out about the facility. It invited its Business Development Manager to run for election to the Surrey Board of Trade Directors, and accepted a seat on the YXX Board.

The result: The Abbotsford International Airport profile has risen dramatically with increasing traffic looking to YXX for service, are represented as having a director of the Surrey Board of Trade, and past Surrey Board of Trade President, James Stewart has been invited to sit on the airport board of directors with Anita Huberman as his alternate.


The issue: The Pattullo Bridge, which carries traffic between New Westminster and Surrey is now 26 years past its anticipated life, is in serious physical condition and must be replaced within the next seven to ten years.

What it’s about: Replacement costs for the bridge are estimated to be approaching $1 billion and are currently posing a problem as to how its replacement should be paid for.  The issue revolves around problems which are endemic in the renewal of much of the aging infrastructure around the Lower Mainland, but which present an

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imbalanced cost impact to users in the South Fraser Region who are facing the already affected by the tolled Golden Ears Bridge and the tolled Port Mann Bridge structure.  Added to that is the certainty that the Massey Tunnel in Delta will require replacing in the near future, which would leave only one “free” alternative in the Alex Fraser Bridge.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: When it became known that the project was being reconsidered with a review of refurbishing the bridge rather than replacement, the Surrey Board of Trade wrote letters to BC Transportation Minister in support of building the replacement bridge, as well as a letter to the editor of the Leader stating the Surrey Board of Trade position on replacement on the bridge.

The Surrey Board of Trade acknowledging that the money to complete all of these projects without some form of user pay recovery is not viable, has been participating in a number of advocacy measures to ensure that funding the infrastructure of the Lower Mainland does not unfairly impact the residents of Surrey and the South Fraser. It has made representation to TransLink, responsible for the Golden Ears and Pattullo Bridges, the provincial Department of Transportation and Infrastructure responsible for the Port Mann, South Fraser Perimeter Road and other assets and Metro Vancouver which is developing its own transportation policies as part of the Regional Growth Strategy. This work has been conducted directly by the Surrey Board of Trade and through participation in the Lower Mainland Chambers Transportation Panel, Metro Vancouver dialogues, interaction with the mayors committees of both Metro Vancouver and TransLink, the Vancouver Board of Trade Regional Transportation Panel and the South Fraser Perimeter Road Community Liaison committee.

The result: Subsequently, planning recommenced with the objective being replacement of the bridge.  The Surrey Board of Trade issued a policy statement that the Surrey Board of Trade supports the construction of a six lane bridge to replace the old span. Further, The New Westminster Chamber of Commerce and the Surrey Board of Trade jointly hosted a Pattullo Bridge Business Dialogue: Giving Business A Voice.

We need businesses to offer their perspectives on this vital transportation connector for the business community. We are collaborated with the New Westminster Chamber of Commerce to host this event because the Pattullo Bridge affects both of our business communities. The purpose of this event was to ensure that the business voice is heard on giving them the opportunity to provide feedback on infrastructure improvements on the Pattullo Bridge. The future of transportation that supports economic growth is a fundamental element to a prosperous economy in Surrey and New Westminster. Ongoing.


The issue: SBOT position on rapid transit options in Surrey; SkyTrain versus Light Rail.  (from 2011)

What it’s about: Effective and equitable transportation services are needed to support the rapid growth of Surrey, and the South Fraser, and should consist of a mix of shuttle buses, regular and extended buses, as well as raid transport along major corridors such as 104th Avenue from Central City to Guildford, 152 Street (Guildford to

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White Rock), King George Boulevard from City Centre to Newton, and along Fraser Highway from City Centre to Langley city.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The Surrey Board of Trade has participated over a number of years in the studies and workshop sessions considering rapid transit in the city considering three technologies for Rapid Transit: SkyTrain Extension, Light (surface) rail and B-line type buses. The Surrey Board of Trade has advised TransLink that it supports the development of a Light Rail as the primary rapid transit option in Surrey.

The result: Policy statement created. Ongoing observation and participation with TransLink in planning.


The issue: Using the former Interurban rail line as a right of way for light rail community transit.

What it’s about: The rail corridor was built by the BC Electric Company in 1910 connecting New Westminster and Chilliwack, to provide inter-community (interurban) transportation service for people and farm produce for Vancouver.  The original line was electrified with overhead wires which propelled the Interuban cars (trams).  In the

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early 1950’s buses replaced the trams and the overhead wires were removed.  The line continued to function as a freight corridor operated by the BC Hydro Railway, ultimately taken over by Southern Rail Link.  The line is maintained for freight use, however only sees a few trains per day. Re-introducing community rail on the line presents a number of upgrade problems including a work around for the seven kilometers of line from Cloverdale to Langley which is used as part of the Delta Port corridor, carrying a large volume of higher speed trains to and from the gateway port. Nonetheless, many feel there is sufficient capacity to allow passenger and freight use of the line and are lobbying strongly to have the line considered along with other options.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The Surrey Board of Trade is actively involved in exploring the viability of the line for community rail use.  It has also lobbied strongly for the line to be seriously considered, long with already favoured routes, by TransLink and other planners.

The result: The Surrey Board of Trade prepared a position paper on the use of the facility in Fall 2012. The rail line re-opened for light passenger service in June 2013.


The issue: Blue Skies – a term for relaxing regulations which restrict specific air carriers from serving Canadian markets, specifically the west coast of Canada, including YVR.

What it’s about: Canadian rules on aviation policy —exclusively within federal jurisdiction — began in the aftermath of World War I, when most countries saw enlightened self-interest in exercising sovereignty over the air space above them.  The Paris Convention of 1919 enshrined a principle of exclusive sovereignty of the skies. Though

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the principle was rooted in military origins, various countries soon exercised it as a tool to foster economic protectionism.

In this past year the Federal Government has moved to expand access through its “Blue Skies” policies, however even that was not sufficient to ward off punitive measures taken by Emirates Airlines in a dispute between them, the government and Air Canada over their desire to fly to Western Canada and not just Toronto.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The Surrey Board of Trade has joined the two major proponents, the Vancouver Board of Trade (VBOT) and the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, to lobby for greater relief for these restrictions. The Surrey Board of Trade with the Vancouver Board of Trade visited officials of the Ministry of Transportation and the Prime Minister’s office in Ottawa to lobby for change.

The result: Pressure from the business community across Canada, and many of the Provincial Governments continues for the Federal Government to relax restrictions. The current government is sympathetic to this trend. We are seeing more airline passenger and freight to date with more to come.


The Issue: Highway 1/Port Mann Bridge (Gateway) project

What it’s about: The Gateway Project (not to be confused with the Gateway Program which is building the South Fraser Perimeter Road) is a provincially backed program in partnership with the Federal Government and the private sector to alleviate congestion in the lower mainland, costing an estimated $1 – $1.5 billion annually, and to

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improve access to the Pacific Gateway (the sea and air ports).  One of the major aspects of this plan was the expansion of the Trans-Canada Highway from the Cassiar Connector to 208th Street in Langley, including replacing the Port Mann Bridge.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: For almost 15 years the Surrey Board of Trade has been lobbying for the improvement of the highway system across the Lower Mainland, and participated in every possible opportunity to provide input on the need for and the planning to achieve this project.  It was the catalyst which resulted in the Lower Mainland Chambers Transportation plan.

The result: On a wider scale than just this project, we’ve seen the major overhaul of the region’s highway system including improved border access, expansion of Highways 10 and 15, the Golden Ears and Pitt River bridges. The new Port Mann bridge opened in December 2012 with project completion by 2014.


The issue: Promoting participation in the Trusted Traveller “Nexus” program for cross border travel.

What it’s about: Since the attack of 9-11-2001, entry into the United States has become much more difficult.  Its impact of trade and commerce was instant and expensive. Since that event, Canada and the US have been working to implement ways to expedite business and commercial travel into the US.  The Nexus program

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(which was developed by the US and Canadian Border Protection Agencies in BC and Washington) has become a successful program to pre-clear individuals for travel across the border with a minimum of interference. However the program could be even more successful in reducing crossing times, and needs to encourage greater participation. It has been expanded to air and marine use as well.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The Surrey Board of Trade actively participates in US Canada border issue programs which offer comment and advice to the US Customs and Border Protection Agency and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in promotion of the Nexus program.

The result: The Nexus program is supported through inclusion in International Trade forums around the Trade Awards, hosts and supports educations programs to advise members on doing business with the US and through articles which will be published in ongoing editions of the Business In Surrey Newspaper.


The issue: Border Improvement Project.

What it’s about: The US-Canada border crossings in the Lower Mainland are among the busiest in Canada and the impact of old infrastructure was creating serious difficulties with the movement of goods and services, as well as people, efficiently and in a timely manner.  Following the 9/11 attack, the US border became considerably

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thickened and security of the “homeland” became the driving spirit of the US CBP, even at the expense of business.  Additional security protocols resulted in horrendous delays in both private and commercial travelers entering the US.  Commerce was suffering and with an average 500 thousand truck crossings annually, some solutions to expedite movement had to be developed.

The first steps involved developing the trusted traveler programs, as the US demanded all travelers to and from the US carry passports. In an effort to serve the need, the Canadian and US authorities developed the Nexus program (described above) for people and the FAST program for moving goods. In an effort to speed up the process for people who otherwise didn’t need passports, the Washington State government developed the enhanced drivers license, which became acceptable to CPB border guards.  Through a number of meetings and exchanges, the BC government also developed an enhance drivers license program.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The Surrey Board of Trade provided advocacy staff to participate with the Center for Canadian American Studies, and the Border Policy Research Institute at the University of Washington, which contributed to the development of policies in use today, many of which came from these projects at WWU alone. On the infrastructure side, the Surrey Board of Trade lobbied the Province and the Federal Government to improve outdated, inefficient facilities and systems to alleviate the congestion at the border.

The result: Although security is still the trump card in the process, the systems which have been developed and the infrastructure improvements which have been implemented have made an enormous difference to crossing the border, particularly for  business.  There are many other aspects to US-Canadian relations on the business level, which require on-going monitoring and work with our American counterparts.


The issue: Rail Freight movement across the international boundary.

What it’s about: There is increased traffic across the US-Canadian Border at Blaine where BNSF trains move freight north into Canada, while CN trains move freight south.  There have been major upgrades to the lines below the border and in Canada where BNSF recently completed a 14,000 foot siding at Colebrook Road. As well there have

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been major upgrades to the security equipment to x-ray rail cars as they move south.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The Surrey Board of Trade maintains good relations with the management of BNSF and is ready to assist this business with any issues it may encounter.

The result: Ongoing observation


The issue: Supporting the continuation of the second Amtrak train between Vancouver and Seattle.

What it’s about: Several years before the 2010 Olympics the US Federal Government committed to a $50 million upgrade of the Cascades Rail Corridor.  This was followed by a proposal to run a second Amtrak train.  This allowed users to travel to Seattle (or to Vancouver) in the morning and return via train the same evening.  The plan was

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to run this as a trial leading up to and through the Olympics.  In the fall of 2010, the Federal Government gave notice that it would not support the cost of customs service to clear the second train, and it would terminate November 1 of 2010.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The Surrey Board of Trade, along with its partners in the Lower Mainland Chambers Transportation Panel began to heavily lobby MP’s to influence the cancellation and provide funding for continued border clearance support based on a business case of the increased ridership with the resulting economic value to each community/region. The Surrey Board of Trade wrote a letter directly to the Prime Minister, as well as to the editors of the local papers.

The result: Achieved – planning for even more trains.


The issue: Installation of paid parking around 72nd and 137th in Newton.

What it’s about: The City of Surrey decided to install pay parking along the streets in Newton based on the rationale that local businesses were concerned about the lack of turnover blocking spots for customers.  This resulted in opposition from the local social agencies including the local Employment Centre, DIVERSEcity and others who

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felt this would unfairly punish clientele who were already financially distressed.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The Surrey Board of Trade received representation from several of the concerned agencies, and the advocacy staff attended the subsequent discussions with the city.

The result: Pay parking remained.


The issue: The 16 Avenue east-west corridor across the South Fraser.

What it’s about: Explosive growth of the population in the South Fraser Region has resulted in unsustainable traffic loads on the roads in the south part of the city.  There are currently no arterial type roads south of #10 Highway traversing the city, Langley and beyond.  In addition, with the growing stature of Abbotsford International Airport,

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there is a growing demand for an east-west arterial which would link YXX, in a relative straight line across to Highway 99 so commercial vehicles could connect with Delta Port and YVR.  The current high volume road is 24 Avenue, however it does not go all the way through, whereas 16th Avenue goes all the way, except for a small distance between the end of the road and YXX.  The airport authority has purchased that land for the purpose of continuing 16th Avenue right to the airport.  Although Abbotsford and Surrey, and many in Langley, recognize this route as the obvious, it remains to be formally recognized as the east/west southern corridor and is protected by all municipalities for that purpose.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The Surrey Board of Trade has made representation to the City of Surrey through meetings with the Engineering Department, and has worked with the Lower Mainland Chambers Transportation Panel to recognize that corridor protection is critical and of high priority.

The result: The Province recognizes 16th Avenue as the east-west corridor and Abbotsford agrees.


The issue: Tolling.

What it’s about: This last decade has been an intense period of infrastructure construction and rehabilitation, to respond to the needs of the national gateway as well as the needs of the enormous population of the Lower Mainland in an area where highway and bridge construction, along with congestion amelioration has been neglected.

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Residents and businesses are now facing an enormous price for this, and the most critical question being, who pays?  Tolling new infrastructure is the obvious answer and is in keeping with previous regimes.  The Lions Gate, Oak and Queensborough Bridges were all tolled at one point, and the tolls removed upon payment of debt.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The Surrey Board of Trade created a discussion paper which, in the current climate, presented a number of requirements before tolling should be applied; only when all fuel levies are applied to infrastructure; used only for the specific structure tolled and removed once paid off – or reduced only to cover on-going maintenance; only where clear, demonstrable net benefits can be shown for users; where a free, reasonable alternative exists.   As the region matures, tolling may be transformed into a road pricing system where users pay for both infrastructure development and on-going maintenance through smaller fees based on distance traveled or facilities used.  This could apply to both main roads as well as bridges.  The system could then be used to more effectively manage traffic through a system called Traffic Demand Management (TDM), which could incent traffic to use facilities in non-peak hours with preferential fees. The systems have a universal tolling method for all tolls.

The result: The Surrey Board of Trade position:

  • Tolling should only be implemented when all gas and related levies (carbon tax, provincial development tax) are dedicated to transportation infrastructure;
  • Tolls should only be used to finance (defray government costs related to) transportation infrastructure that would not otherwise be constructed and should not be used to generate revenue for the provincial treasury;
  • Tolls should be removed once the construction costs have been recovered or modified to a lower rate to cover on-going maintenance;
  • Tolls should only be implemented where there are clear, demonstrable net benefits for the users of new or substantially improved transportation facilities, such as travel-time savings, vehicle operating cost savings, reliability and safety benefits;
  • Toll collection should be achieved by consistent means throughout the province (using one common method of chip or transponder) and should not impede travel;
  • In the future, the region may wish to consider road pricing/traffic demand management (TDM):
  • Road Pricing; (applied regionally) implementation of a road pricing policy where smaller tolls are applied across the region with all funds to either infrastructure development and maintenance as well as operating funds for public transportation, ultimately leading to a;
  • Traffic Demand Management program, wherein tolling/pricing (applied regionally) can be varied on different routes, at different times of day/night, to encourage or direct traffic in a more efficient use of roads.

The issue: Dredging the lower Fraser River.

What it’s about: The Fraser River carries about 270 thousand cubic meters of gravel past the Aggasiz-Rosedale Bridge every year. This and a much finer silt present an ongoing need for the watercourse to be continuously dredged. If continuous dredging does not take place this will result in clogged channels, impacting the thousands of

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businesses which rely on the river for their operation.  Over the years, less money was being allocated to keep the river open with the result that, apart form the main channel to Port Mann, many side channels were silting up to the point of becoming impassable.  In Delta, floating homes were becoming beached at low tide as those basins were filling in.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The Surrey Board of Trade and the Langley Chamber of Commerce presented a resolution to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce calling on the Federal government to ensure that permanent funding be provided to ensure the viability of the river.  As well, the resolution asked for permanent funding for the debris trap near Agassiz.

The result: The resolution was accepted and the province engaged to assist the debris trap.  Responsibility for dredging remains an issue with Port Metro Vancouver, concerned with dredging the main shipping channel.  They are working with local groups with respect to dealing with other channels.  The Transportation Team needs to continue this as a concern. The issue is ongoing.


The issue: Campbell Heights Business Park

What it’s about: In the Lower Mainland, there is very little remaining land, which can be developed for industrial purposes.  Surrey has a major advantage in the Campbell Heights Business Park, which is a master planned light industrial business park.

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What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The Surrey Board of Trade has been a strong supporter of this development and the real and potential economic value it represents for the city and its business sector.  The Surrey Board of Trade has been advocating with TransLink for the provision of transit services to this area, which, because it falls outside of the original Livable Regions plan did not allow for such services.

The result: The SBOT continues to lobby for the transit services needed for the growing workforce in this site, who require automobiles and trucks in order to travel to and from work.  The issue continues to be of concern to the Transportation Team.


The issue: On-going efforts to determine a Funding Policy for TransLink

What it’s about: TransLink, the regional transit authority for Metro Vancouver, is seeking to develop a funding regime in order to ensure sufficient and sustainable funding which allows it to develop, expand and operate the regional transit system, to 2030 and beyond. The long established cities of Vancouver, Burnaby and New Westminster

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have long had highly developed and efficient transit systems, particularly utilizing electric trolleys as well as gas buses.  Despite the explosive growth of the Lower Mainland population outside of the Burrard Peninsula, TransLink services beyond the metro core were seriously restricted due to the former GVRD’s Livable Region Strategic Plan.  As a result a serious, if not egregious, transit defecit was allowed to evolve which is only now being addressed. Service development trends have seemed to favour the established, well served areas with great improvements while little or nothing was provided to the massively growing suburb cities, Surrey in particular.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The Surrey Board of Trade has consistently and energetically lobbied for greater local improvements, at every opportunity, the Greater Vancouver Regional District cum Metro Vancouver, TransLink, the Government of BC, the Government of Canada, often in partnership with the City of Surrey, the Lower Mainland Chambers Transportation Panel (inter-acting with the Mayors council), and the Vancouver Board of Trade Regional Transportation Panel.

The result: The Surrey Board of Trade has issued policy statements and press releases on its policy for funding principles and formulae for TransLink. It is invited to participate at numerous discussion levels, forums and colloquia on this issue.  Its voice is heard.


The issue: TransLink Chair/Mayor’s Council.

What it’s about: The Chair and CEO of TransLink, as well as the Mayor’s Council are critical to liaise with in the efforts on behalf of the businesses and population of Surrey and the South Fraser Region, to obtain its fair share of TransLink resources and services.

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What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The Surrey Board of Trade has been diligent in maintaining and expanding relations with the TransLink Chair, the CEO and the Mayor’s Council.  We’ve met with and maintained good relations with CEO Pat Jacobsen, Tom Prendergast and Ian Jarvis as well as Chair Dale Parker, and members of the Mayor’s council including then Langley Mayor Peter Fassbender, Pamela Goldsmith-Jones of West Vancouver and Richard Walton of the North Vancouver District.

The result: There is established a good relationship between the Mayor’s council, the Board and management of TransLink and the  Surrey Board of Trade. We lobbied successfully for the Mayor’s Council to approve the interim funding for TransLink in Fall 2011.


The issue: To retain and enhance commercial vehicles with inspection facilities at the Aldergrove Port of Entry (POE) and when feasible move to 24/7 operation.

What it’s about: The Aldergrove POE is a key location in the development of a border service to serve a growing commercial demand for appropriate border services. However, redevelopment plans for the new POE facility were reportedly prepared without any allowance for commercial inspection at this POE.  This point, currently the

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third busiest POE for commercial traffic in the region would reduce inspection opportunities and force increasing commercial traffic to the Pacific (Truck) Crossing in Cloverdale or force them to use the very restricted POE at Abbotsford (Huntington). The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) had said that there was no demonstrated need for commercial facilities and there would be none at that crossing.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The Surrey Board of Trade, in partnership with the Langley Chamber of Commerce and the Lower Mainland Chambers Transportation Panel, opposed the move to withdraw any commercial services at Aldergrove.  Meetings were arranged, including a luncheon with representation from both sides of the border, including the mayors of Bellingham and Lynden, to explore and lobby for solutions. We met with Kim Scoville, the Regional Manager for the Lower Mainland POE’s, as well as a number of MP’s and the US Representative, Rick Larsen.

The result: The process is underway and the CBSA has not yet communicated its decision, however we continue to apply pressure to resolve the issue, not based on current demand, but with an eye to the anticipated growth over the next 30 years.  A significant lobby effort took place in June 2012.


The issue: Traffic flow management in the City of Surrey.

What it’s about: Throughout the City of Surrey, there are many traffic bottle-necks arising from the inability to properly manage the light systems, including special lights for left turns.  The city has been working to alleviate these problems but has been hampered, to a degree, by an out-dated traffic light control system.  In the last couple of

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years, staff under Surrey City Engineer, Vince Lalonde have been working to identify problem intersections and implement solutions to ease congestion and allow for the smoother flow of traffic.  Key to the ultimate success of the endeavour is the installation of a state of the art traffic flow management system which will staff to visually monitor all major intersections and intervene physically to delay or shorten lights as traffic demands at the moment.  A great deal of preparation has gone into setting up the system, which will be competed and operational once the new City Hall is built with the special facilities to house the new system and staff to run it.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The Surrey Board of Trade has met with Surrey engineering staff over the years to assist in identifying trouble spots. The Board has also been very supportive of the efforts to improve traffic in the city.

The result: A vastly improved and improving road network in the City of Surrey.


The issue: Fraser Highway expansion: Despite the widening and upgrading of Fraser Highway from Green Timbers to 168th and from Highway 15 to Langley, the section between 168th and 176th remains incomplete.

What it’s about: The expansion of Fraser Highway, since it was transferred to the city has been ongoing for a number of years, and is pretty much complete except for the section mentioned above and the area from 148th to 140th through Green Timbers.  The road between 168th Street and 176 Street is across very unstable ground and

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the land has been preloaded for several years while the intersection at 176th avenue, along with the two bridges over the Serpentine River.  The south bridge is built and the North bridge is currently under construction.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The SBOT stays in touch with city road projects through the reports from Paul Lee of the City of Surrey Engineering Dept.

The result: Completed in 2013.


The projects: Various road projects throughout the Surrey, including 88th Avenue and the 88th Avenue & King George Boulevard (KGB) intersection, 84th Avenue completion from KGB to 140th Ave., Rosemary Heights and Highway 10 Overpass

What it’s about: 88th Avenue is one of the major east/west arterials crossing Surrey from 200th Street in Langley to Nordel Way in Delta. It is a four lane city road which carries very large amounts of very large (as in semi-trailer rigs with all sorts of cargo) traffic.  Speeds are frequently higher than appropriate and the large rigs in particular

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have difficulty stopping at all the traffic lights. It is a less than ideal situation.  One of the worst intersections in Surrey is where it crosses King George Boulevard.  This is a high crash intersection.  There have been a number of concerns about the intersection with a number of options from round-abouts to overpasses. However, with the South Fraser Perimeter Road under construction, it is more likely the city will (appropriately) wait to see how this new road affects the number of transport trucks using 88th.

Four blocks south is 84th Avenue, a wide street which is a minor arterial runs from Fraser Highway to 140th Avenue here it is interrupted by a BC Hydro power right-of-way, which in itself is undeveloped in any way and has been mistaken as being part of the adjacent Bear Creek Park.  There have been attempts to complete 84th Avenue to connect with King George Boulevard, however they have all met with considerable local opposition and the project was stopped.

The 152nd Nickomekl Bridge is part of a project to “four-lane” 152nd Street from Rosemary Heights to #10 Highway.  The city currently does not have it on its priority list, however as traffic volume builds it may shift position on that list.

The Highway 10 Overpass is one of nine overpasses to be built for grade separation from the unit trains moving along the Delta Port Rail corridor.  Construction has begun with the depositing of preload along the route, which will form the bypass while the overpass is being constructed.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: The Surrey Board of Trade meets regularly with the engineering staff responsible for transportation in the city and the Transportation Team enjoys the presence of Paul Lee at the City of Surrey Engineering department, at its meetings. We recommended against a major upgrade of 88th Avenue and King George Boulevard until impact of South Fraser Perimeter Road is known.

The result: The Surrey Board of Trade has the opportunity to provide input on the various issues concerning the city’s road management.


The issue: Amtrak Cascades Train, to establish a Mid-Point passenger pickup/drop off service at Blaine, Washington, to service travelers from the Fraser Valley, in order to avoid unnecessary and lengthy travel to and from the Vancouver Terminal.

What it’s about: Canadians who wish to travel to Seattle must embark at the Terminal Street Station, at the end of False Creek in Vancouver. This is a major inconvenience for people from the eastern part of the valley and particularly the South Fraser.  One traveler, who lives in Crescent Beach, indicated that he had to travel well over an hour

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to catch a train that would bring him almost by his house about two hours later as it travelled to the border. Likewise, residents of the South Fraser and Fraser Valley must reverse the process when returning, travel a great deal of extra time, and one unable to disembark until the terminus station at False Creek.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: A group of people have banded together to solve the problem, presenting a novel solution to having to “go the distance” while avoiding a lengthy interruption to the Amtrak Cascades progress and avoid requiring additional customs clearance resources.  The south-bound train should make a short (10 minute) stop at Blaine and pick up (south Fraser) passengers, who will have travelled to Blaine on their own, cleared customs and parked the car at (or bussed) to the Blaine Depot.  Likewise, returning northbound passengers would disembark during that same 10 minute stop, and continue home by car or bus, clearing Canada Customs at the Peace Arch, Pacific Highway etc.

Coincident with this, there is a group of history buffs who wish to refurbish the dis-used BNSF station at Blaine (which is located immediately south of the Canadian border) and use it for the depot to accommodate the out-bound and returning passengers.  There is plenty of parking in the area, which could be made secure, and it is easily accessible by passengers arriving by car, bus, and even on foot.

This proposition has attracted the approval of the Surrey Mayor and council who voted unanimously to support a train stop in Blaine. Councillor Marvin Hunt said a train stop in Blaine could serve the approximately 750,000 Canadians who live in Surrey, Delta, Langley and Abbotsford.

This is an elegant, very low-cost solution to a major problem for many Fraser Valley residents wishing to use the service, and in as much as it will benefit the whole local economy on both sides of the Canada US border, the Surrey Board of Trade stands in support of this endeavor, and will communicate its position on this matter to the parties involved.

The result: The Surrey Board of Trade supports the development of a mid-trip stopping-point for the Vancouver–Seattle Amtrak Cascades train to allow for the embarkation/ disembarkation of passengers (travelling from/to the South Fraser Region) at Blaine, to allow for their convenient use of the service, avoiding the use of the Vancouver terminal, while avoiding additional customs inspections for the train and a minimum stop for its through passengers.


The issue: Canadian Flight Costs more Competitive with US Flights

What it’s about: The Obama administration announced an additional $5.50 charge for Canadian passengers entering the US by air or water. Although it’s not a significant amount of money, it is one more straw on the Canadian aviation sector already labouring under a taxation and fee regime that is estimated to be six times that of what it

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is in the United States.

This has resulted in a flood of air travelers crossing the border to fly from U.S. airports. In 2009, an estimated 4.6 million passengers traveled to U.S. airports to catch flights which, despite the dollar being around par, can range from half to three-quarters of the cost of flying in or from Canada. Seeking remedy, the Surrey Board of Trade is calling for the Canadian government to review how it derives revenues from the airports in particular and undertake changes that would put Canadian aviation on a more balanced footing with the US. The essence of the imbalance is in the fact that the Canadian government charges ground rent of the country’s major airports.  It’s the only place in the world where this is done. In the US, the government provides grants to assist airports to be self-sufficient.  In Canada, the government charges fees for Nav Canada (no similar fees in the US). The US has no GST or HST.

What the Surrey Board of Trade did: We have asked the Canadian government to immediately examine the cost structure of government imposed fees on airlines and airports to reduce costs and stimulate the sector, to develop policies to encompass the results of that examination by 2012, and to remove airport rents by 2016. We have the support of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and all of their members also. Unless we stem this tide we risk causing further damage to a sector which employs 200,000 people and accounts for an output of $45 billion. In the US, the airports are seen as economic generators. In Canada, it appears they are seen as revenue generators. We’d like to see the government put greater emphasis on economic stimulation over rent and fee collecting.

The result: Ongoing advocacy.