B.C. Premier John Horgan walks from his B.C. legislature office to the rose garden to speak to reporters, June 3, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)

Another $1 billion borrowed for B.C. municipalities, transit

Province wants to match latest federal COVID-19 aid

The B.C. government is seeking approval for another $1 billion in borrowing to match funds from the federal government to keep transit systems and local facilities like libraries and recreation centres running in the coronavirus pandemic.

Premier John Horgan emphasized July 23 that transit is key to getting more people back to work and school in the fall, and he warned that further restrictions are a possibility as education starts up and people spend more time indoors.

Finance Minister Carole James asked the legislature July 22 for authority to spend an additional $1 billion, on top of an unprecedented deficit. Finance officials have estimated the 2020-21 deficit to be $12.5 billion, with other scenarios as high as $15 billion or as low as $10 billion, depending on pandemic conditions and businesses recovering and paying taxes.

James said the new spending authority is based on getting the maximum amount of federal restart funds for transit and municipal services. She announced last week that B.C. was expecting about $2 billion under the Trudeau government’s “safe restart agreement” with provinces.

“We know how critical transportation is for our economic recovery, and we know the needs that are there, the challenges that Translink, that B.C. Transit have facing,” James told reporters at the legislature. “We also know municipalities are facing needs as well. So this gives us the ability to be able to hopefully maximize those dollars.”

RELATED: B.C. set to match $1 billion of Ottawa restart fund

RELATED: B.C. tourism industry seeks nearly half of restart fund

In his weekly session with reporters at the legislature rose garden, Horgan congratulated most B.C. residents for taking care in a reopening economy, and scolded young people shown in widely seen videos of outdoor parties.

“After observing footage from Kelowna, after observing footage of a drum circle in the Lower Mainland, I have to say to British Columbians, ‘C’mon, you’re better than that’,” Horgan said. “We made better progress than anywhere in Canada, up until the last couple of weeks. My appeal to you, young and old, be responsible, do your best to stay away from other people.”

Horgan’s concern follows several days of more than 30 new COVID-19 cases being identified. That’s still well below the latest results in Alberta, and far below Washington state, which is recording hundreds of cases a day.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

“Let’s break the silence because we can”

Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s awareness walk held Saturday in Fort St. James

Brucejack mine fatality identified

Patrick Critch was from Newfoundland

Pretivm Resources reports fatality at Brucejack mine

The isolated incident occurred last Friday, and the employee passed away on Sunday in hospital

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

STANDING TALL: For some, B.C.’s forest industry is the best office in the world

A look at the forest sector in B.C. – and those hoping for the best – amid mill curtailments

Royal B.C. Museum wants B.C.’s COVID-19 nature observations

COVID-19 Collecting For Our Time: ongoing project cataloguing province’s pandemic experience

Feds offer ‘life preserver’ funds to BC Ferries as pandemic sinks revenue

For every dollar the province spends the federal government will match

Bad behaviour at B.C. restaurants ignites campaign calling for respect

“If you can’t follow the rules, then stay home,” says BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Over half of Americans oppose Trump tariff on Canadian aluminum: survey

The survey was conducted Aug. 7 to 9 among 1,513 Canadians and 1,003 Americans

Oh baby, what a birthday gift: $2.8M raised to help B.C. boy with rare disease

‘We are very thankful to everybody,’ Aryan Deol’s father says

‘Huckleberry’ the bear killed after B.C. residents admit to leaving garbage out for videos

North Shore Black Bear Society said it was local residents who created a ‘death sentence’ for bear

Police investigating after insults, expletives yelled at federal minister’s staff

A 90-second video circulating on social media appears to have been shot by the person who was yelling

5 B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Most Read