A John Buker Re-Post From 2009 – Prendergastai??i??s parting words on Rail for the Valley

A re-post from 2009.

Tom Prendergast, who was briefly CEO at TransLink, left (or was forced out) after just over a year at the post because of the Skytrain lobby. The SkyTrain Lobby still holds great sway with transit planning in Metro Vancouver, which is very bad news for the taxpayer.

Too bad that the powers that be did not listen, for the real reason for TransLink’s continued financial embarrassments is the proprietary SkyTrain light-metro and its bastard child, the Canada line.

Prendergastai??i??s parting words on Rail for the Valley

A couple weeks ago, it was announced that Translink CEO Tom Prendergast was quitting his position, and accepting a job as president of New York Cityai??i??s Transit Authority. He had only joined Translink in July 2008, and now he has left! I am guessing he didnai??i??t like what he saw.

Prendergast was as positive a force as could be expected in such an organization as Translink, run under the tightest of control of Premier Gordon Campbell.

Hereai??i??s an illuminating excerpt, his parting words on the possibilities of light rail for the valley (Surrey Leader, Nov. 24):

Kwantlen Student Association rep Nathan Griffiths said improved transit is needed to serve campuses in Cloverdale and Langley and asked about the potential to extend passenger light rail to the Fraser Valley.

ai???Thereai??i??s really no impediment,ai??? Prendergast responded. ai???Itai??i??s overcoming the cultural embracement of SkyTrain that has existed to date.ai???

He said TransLink is seeking to cut through the pro-SkyTrain ai???cultural biasai??? as it embarks on a careful examination of rapid transit technologies for line extensions west along Broadway and south of the Fraser.

Prendergast predicted the first light rail line that comes to the Lower Mainland will lead to much greater appreciation of its potential.

Itai??i??s interesting to think about this ai???cultural biasai??? towards Skytrain. Who actually has this bias? It isnai??i??t residents or even politicians in the Fraser Valley: Not a single municipal candidate in Surrey the last election supported Skytrain expansion over light rail. Not a single candidate. Not one!

No, itai??i??s the old-guard politicians of Vancouver, who were around for the previous Skytrain expansions and have the most personal stake in continuing to expand the Skytrain money hole. Itai??i??s Mike Harcourt, itai??i??s Gordon Campbell, and others involved in Vancouverai??i??s transportation decisions of the last 25 years.

To anyone who wonders why the problems with Skytrain often take centre stage on this blog, Prendergast answers the question.

To get light rail for the valley, we absolutely must cut through the pro-SkyTrain ai???cultural biasai??? that exists, not among the populace of the Fraser Valley, but among Vancouverai??i??s political elite, who all-too-often take it upon themselves to make all the decisions for the rest of us.


One Response to “A John Buker Re-Post From 2009 – Prendergastai??i??s parting words on Rail for the Valley”
  1. eric chris says:

    I met Tom at a TransLink board meeting in 2009. He seemed like someone who was too good for TransLink and appeared to know that it was hopeless here or was chased out by the establishment here.

    TransLink doesn’t have a funding problem; it has a spending problem. We have corrupt individuals using sky train lines and development along the sky train lines to fill their pockets with money from taxpayers who are paying for the sky train construction. Obviously some back room deals were made to go with sky train.

    Both SNC Lavalin which the World Bank has ostracized for bribing officials to win work and Bombardier have prospered from sky train. Taxpayers and users are the losers. So are residents who live on trolley bus routes overrun with diesel buses causing cancer and asthma as well as noise disruptions because TransLink has no money to spend on regular trolley buses after spending too much on sky train.

    It was not prudent to go with sky train. Sky train results in huge infrastructure costs to maintain the lines and stations. We got suckered into massive future liabilities with federal grants to pay for the initial sky train lines which are only the tip of the iceberg as far as costs go. Both Bombardier and SNC Lavalin know this and are laughing all the way to bank. Corrupt federal and provincial politicians were likely bought for this to happen.

    It was disappointing to see more media coverage to test our pulse on more funding for TransLink. The proponents of sky train who are students are naïve. Transit here is doomed unless everyone at TransLink is fired.

    We have incompetent staff at the City of Vancouver and TransLink. They think that they can continue to bamboozle the masses to plan for more sky train lines and get away with it. This is Vancouver and maybe they will but then again maybe the noose will tighten around their scrawny necks, soon.