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

July Kootenay real estate sales at record high

Sales and prices of Kootenay real estate on the rise

Dust on Crust bring bluegrass to Golden

The band came together at the Wolf’s Den jam nights and have been playing bluegrass ever since

Morning Start: The human body contains trace amounts of gold

Your morning start for Friday, August 7, 2020

Roots & Blues announces ticket giveaway ahead of online festival

The festival is streaming free online this year, but those who pre-register can win passes for 2021.

Morning Start: Water can freeze and boil at the same time

Your morning start for Thursday, August 6, 2020

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Number of Kelowna-linked COVID-19 cases grows to 159

Interior Health reported four new cases region-wide on Friday, 18 remain active

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

Police watchdog deems Kelowna RCMP not responsible for man’s death

The man spoke to police after a car crash before leaving on foot; he was found dead six hours later

‘It’s just my job’: Off-duty Peachland paramedic saves choking girl downtown Penticton

Family vacationing in Penticton assisted by off-duty paramedic, who helps save 13-year-old

Central Okanagan adds 3,600 jobs in July: Statistics Canada

The region’s unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 10 per cent in July

Most Read