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

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

Greens, Liberals, NDP field Fraser-Nicola candidates ahead of October election

Incumbent Jackie Tegart has two opposing candidates after snap election called Monday

Work has started on 20 units of seniors’ housing in Clinton

Much-delayed project has been in the works for almost a decade

Cache Creek firefighters plan bigger, better Halloween fireworks

‘With so much uncertainty in the world it’s nice to know that one community event is staying intact’

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

2 British Columbians arrested, 3 at large in massive Alberta drug bust

Eight people are facing 33 charges in what police have dubbed Project Incumbent

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Money laundering inquiry delayed over of B.C. election: commissioner

Austin Cullen says the hearings will start again on Oct. 26

Most Read