Regional Transportation Plan – for the record

November 20, 2020

The Nov. 16 article, “New tax on drivers proposed for Kelowna” published in The Daily Courier contains some inaccuracies, in particular that a new tax on drivers was to be considered by Kelowna City Council on Monday. A similar article was published in the Penticton Herald. 

To clarify, no new tax on drivers is proposed for Kelowna. Nor would any new charges be proposed without significant public dialogue. 

Currently, gas taxes help fund transportation infrastructure projects. As electric vehicles become more commonplace, new funding sources will need to be identified. The Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) simply suggests that we monitor trends related to “mobility pricing” – a blanket term that can refer to a wide variety of approaches to collecting funds in exchange for use of the transportation system. This is a prudent step aimed at keeping funding for transportation stable in the future. 

Making this one item the focus of the story comes at the expense to readers of learning about the many other concrete actions proposed in the Regional Transportation Plan. The plan sets the direction for Central Okanagan governments to work together to move people and goods more efficiently, achieve fast and reliable transit, create a safe and convenient regional bicycling and trails network, and incorporate new mobility options.  

Recommendations in the RTP follow more than two years of public and stakeholder consultation, technical studies, and collaboration between Central Okanagan governments, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, and BC Transit. 

Some of the plan’s key features include creating a fast and reliable transit spine along the Highway 97 corridor, adding 81 new kilometres of regional bicycling and trails facilities, and investing in transportation improvements to better connect people to regional destinations such as UBC Okanagan and the Kelowna International Airport, among others. 

More information about the Regional Transportation Plan is available online at smartTRIPS.ca