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Downtown Vancouver Association | Metro Vancouver Mobility Subsidies

Metro Vancouver Mobility Subsidies

Total Annual Taxpayer & External Costs

05 Dec Metro Vancouver Mobility Subsidies

The hidden costs of transportation in Metro Vancouver

Travelers pay a portion of their transportation costs: from an individual’s purchase of a bike, to a bridge toll paid by a trucking company, to a fare for a bus ride. Still, user payments do not cover the costs of ANY mode or of the transportation system as a whole.

Societies have long recognized the broad benefits provided by transportation, particularly in providing access to land and enabling economic activity. These benefits are the basis for societal contributions—also referred to as subsidies—to the transportation system. Societal contributions are provided by taxpayer revenue and by the public’s burden for external costs such as pollution.

Societal contributions to the transportation system in Metro Vancouver amount to $4.5 billion per year. Of this, $3.6 billion—79%—defrays the costs of trucking and driving in the region. Transit, cycling and walking receive a combined $944 million, or 21%.


$4.5 Billion Annual Public Funding for Transportation

  • Automobiles get ‘invisible subsidy’ of almost $3 Billion (64%)
  • Transit/ bike/ walk ‘cost’ just under $1 Billion (21%)
  • Goods/ trucking ‘require’ $0.7 billion (15%)

Source: TransLink TRS Backgrounder #10: Transportation finding


DVA’s Position

The Downtown Vancouver Association position is that the existing financial contributions to transportation are not balanced by mode and will not promote the mobility we require.



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