The Transportation and Transit Referendum, SFU and You

Expanded public transportation and campus access


June 1, 2015: Voting has closed. Results will be announced on the Elections BC website.

May 29, 2015: Last day to drop off your ballot. Elections BC must receive your completed ballot package before the close of voting at 8 pm on Friday, May 29. You can drop off your completed ballot package before the close of voting at one of nine Elections BC Plebiscite Service Offices located in Metro Vancouver.

May 13, 2015: Transit Referendum Information event from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm in the Town Square, SFU's Burnaby campus.

Your ballot is in your backpack! Or maybe not. Maybe it's in that pile by the phone, with the cellphone bill and the 17 pieces of junk mail.

That's okay! If your ballot is lost - or if you never received one in the first place - stop by the Town Square, Burnaby campus, to request a (new) voting package and ensure you have completed your Transit Plebiscite ballot. Come meet your neighbours, enjoy free entertainment and enter for a chance to win a new black Apple iWatch Sport edition.

The first 250 people to stop by the information table will receive a token for a free meal at either the Roaming Dragon, Guanaco (El Salvadorian), Chou Chou Crepes, or Vij's Railway Express food trucks. The event is open to the UniverCity and SFU community.

Please remember: you must request a package by no later than midnight, May 15. Completed ballots must be received by Elections BC by closing time on May 29, 2015.

May 5, 2015: Mayors' Council is offering to present one hour Lunch 'n' Learn sessions on the Plan and the Vote to SFU faculty and staff

Where can I find out more about the Lunch 'n' Learn sessions?

Transportation and Transit Plebiscite Lunch and Learns

Trying to make an informed decision on this critical issue, but still struggling with what the Plan is all about and what it will mean to individuals—from the transportation choices to the costs?

Planning staff from the Mayors' Council are offering to present one hour Lunch 'n' Learn sessions on the Plan and the Vote to answer questions about the investments, revenue source, timelines and governance to ensure that your team understands what is at the core of the choice before us. The session can be presented neutral in nature (i.e., no "Vote Yes" messaging) to let the Plan speak for itself with plenty of time for Q & A on this critical issue.

If you are interested, please contact:

Meghan Woods
Engagement Coordinator
Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation
604.362.1824 |

March 23, 2015: Ballots were mailed to registered voters starting March 16, and you have until May 29 to return your ballot.

March 16 – May 29

Make an informed decision and cast your vote in the upcoming referendum

What is this referendum about?

Metro Vancouver is expected to grow by one million more people and 500,000 more jobs by 2031, putting greater pressure on the region’s transportation system. The Mayor’s Council (which represents 23 local elected governments in Metro Vancouver) has put forward a 30-year plan for the region’s transportation system. The Council has proposed The Metro Vancouver Congestion Improvement Tax, which would be a 0.5% increase to the Provincial Sales Tax, as the way to fund the region’s contribution to the plan. This requires a referendum within Metro Vancouver to approve new regional revenue sources for transportation investment.

The referendum question is:

“Do you support a new 0.5% Metro Vancouver Congestion Improvement Tax, to be dedicated to the Mayors’ Transportation and Transit Plan?”  Yes or No

View the approved ballot here.

What is the Mayors' Transportation and Transit Plan?

The Mayors’ Council Plan provides a comprehensive, sustainable blueprint to reduce congestion on our roads and transit infrastructure, minimize the environmental costs of idling commercial vehicles and single-occupancy cars, and to allow our communities and economy to thrive. These investments, to be completed over the coming 10 years, are essential to protecting our environment, strengthening our economy, and improving our health and quality of life.

How will the Plan be funded?

The Mayors’ Council has identified that a new source of revenue will be needed to fund this plan. The Metro Vancouver Congestion Improvement Tax would apply to the majority of goods and services that are subject to the Provincial Sales Tax and are sold or delivered within Metro Vancouver. This funding source is the subject of the 2015 Metro Vancouver Transportation and Transit Plebiscite.

All revenue collected through the Metro Vancouver Congestion Improvement Tax would be dedicated to the Mayors’ Council transportation and transit plan. Revenues and expenditures would be subject to annual independent audits and public reporting.

Why is this referendum important to SFU students?

Almost 90 per cent of SFU students rely on public transportation to get to and from their classes, spending—on average— almost twice as much time on transit than do students across the country, with a return commute averaging 95 minutes.

The SFU community is highly reliant on public transportation: if you're not using public transit it’s likely because you can’t find a seat—and for many students attending our Surrey campus south of the Fraser River, there are no viable transit options at all.

There are many projects in the proposed plan that will directly impact travel to and from SFU’s campuses, including new express bus service between the Burnaby and Vancouver campuses, replacement of the Pattullo Bridge, and light rail transit in Surrey.

Traffic congestion costs our regional economy around $1 billion each year in vehicle operating costs, lost productivity and pollution from emissions. A strengthened transportation system must also support Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy, which projects that the region will grow by one million people by 2041.

A “yes” decision in this referendum will target revenues from a .5% sales tax increase to significantly expand public transit capacity and improve roads, bridges and pathways. A “no” vote will mean that these revenues will not be available to address these needs.

SFU is not telling anyone which way to vote. The University is urging everyone to understand what success or failure of the Mayors’ Transportation and Transit Plan will mean for their daily commute, to register to vote in this referendum, and to be sure they mail their ballot.

How do I participate in the vote?

Step 1: Ensure you are a registered voter in Metro Vancouver

In order to vote you must first be a registered voter in Metro Vancouver. To register or check if you are registered call 1-800-661-8683 or register online at voting will be by mail-in ballot.

Step 2: Complete the ballot and mail in your vote

Ballots will be mailed to registered voters starting March 16, 2015 and you have until May 29, 2015 to return your ballot.

Where can I find more information? (a consortium of businesses, organizations, local governments, and transportation leaders coordinated by the SFU Centre for Dialogue)

More Information on the YES Campaign More Information on the NO Campaign


SFU is the only university in BC with  campuses in three major Metro Vancouver cities — Burnaby, Surrey and Vancouver — all served by public transit.

88 per cent of SFU undergraduates report regular use of public transit for their commute to the university — 31 per cent higher than the national average.

SFU students spend an average of 47.4 minutes on transit, compared with the national average of 25.2.

Students wait up to 30 minutes at Production Way Station in Burnaby and other key campus and residence pickup points.


LINKS for more information