Motherhood And Apple Pie

Rail for the Valley has been long warning the public about the costs of  subway and light-metro construction costs, which fell on mainly deaf ears.

Rapid transit is a “ motherhood and apple pie” subject and the mainstream media will not report negative news about SkyTrain, light-metro and the real costs involved.

The “other guys” are finding out that fighting “motherhood and apple pie” is tough and the government, at all levels remain oblivious to the huge costs involved.

“What me worry?” is a common refrain from elected officials who have never even tried to study the subject. Fact is, most politicians think they are experts on transit planning. Sadly the truth is otherwise, as the term “rubes” come to mind.

Everyone knows spending more money on transit makes it better. NOT!

Zwei has been chastised many times for being blunt, but unfortunately being blunt is the last option when fighting a “motherhood and apple pie” issues and the “motherhood and apple pie” lie has been repeated so often the the public has come to believe it.

When the first proprietary ALRT light metro was built in Vancouver, politicians deluded themselves that because it had no drivers, it was cheap to operate.

This naive assumption was not true, as the light-metro system was sucking up huge sums of money from the taxpayer’s pie. The exorbitant costs for light metro was so acute that in 1992, the GVRD commissioned a study of the cost of transporting people in the Fraser Valley and the results of the study were astounding.

The subsidy to operate the initial Vancouver to new Westminster light-metro line was more than the combined subsidy to operate the diesel and electric buses!

Politicians of the day ignored this and continued to increase taxes more and more to pay for light-metro and this continues today.

TransLink does not give clear and concise numbers for the SkyTrain subsidy, as it would prove embarrassing how expensive “motherhood and apple pie” transit costs.

Ontario’s Metrolinx found that the 50 year costs for heavily engineered transit projects is very high, burdening tomorrows taxpayer’s with today’s extravagance.

When will our politicians learn the lesson; when will they learn the lesson that throwing money at expensive transit projects only burdens future generations with debt.

Motherhood and apple pie” has condemned the region to high taxes, which will soon explode upwards by building subways and extending the Expo Line a few km. in Surrey due to the dishonest claims by the now mayor of Surrey.

Regional taxpayers will soon wake up to the stench of rotten apples an little pie left for future generations.

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South Fraser Community Rail Society

“Hydrogen iLink Passenger Rail, Scott Rd. SkyTrain to Chilliwack” #connect the valley

 

 

The Hidden Cost of TransLink…. Did You Know?

TransLink once again has made a submission to our Provincial Government for access to MORE taxation sources in the region! This is Shorthand for taking more tax dollars out of your pocket, we say NO, until two things happen -

  1. Determine the NET COVID-19 effect on Transit. What are our needs and priorities, for lower mainland inter-regional transit? What are the value options?

 

  1. Hold TransLink to a stringent financial oversight review measuring value for money before considering any request for more tax dollars!

Let’s glance back in history – A short 5 years ago the people of Metro Vancouver went through a then provincial government mandated plebiscite on TransLink. The Mayors of the region wanted support for a $7.5 Billion regional transportation plan. They asked for support of a 0.5% sales tax to fund Metro Vancouver’s share of major infrastructure projects. A Mail in ballot was called – 759,696 votes were cast! The answer:

2015 Plebiscite -NO! 61.7% no / 38.4% yes

Comments, post plebiscite?

“There is a clear NO outcome, we must respect that” Doug Allen, interim TransLink CEO. Allen repeatedly characterized the results as a vote against higher taxes.

“I’m thrilled” “A tremendous victory for taxpayers” “Of course this was about TransLink” – Jordan Bateman then B.C. Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

NOTE: This vote was held in relatively good times, certainly compared to the times we have all been experiencing today into an unknown future, under the cloud of COVID-19.

What is the truth about TransLink Taxation today? Not change! They want more money!

TransLink Tax and Spend is out of control…. Why Commit to $3,200,000,000 when $252,500,000 (only 8%) provides better service, better value and serves more people South of the Fraser?

The Hidden Cost of TransLink…. Did You Know?

Parking Tax

Now 24% (adds 15 cents hr. to aver. $5/hr. per Parking Stall

Property Tax

7% (Incr. 3% per yr. of the TransL. Prop. Tax base per yr.)

Gas Tax

18.5 cents a litre (Highest gas taxes in North America)

 

Transit User Fees

Single use +5 cents to 10 cents/Day Pass +25 cents/monthly passes + $2 – $3.

 

BC Hydro Transit Levy

TransLink brought the regional trans. levy (utility tax on monthly B.C. Hydro Bill) back in 2006. Today that amount is $0.0624 cents per day for a regular single-family dwelling or $1.87 month. There are 960,890 occupied private dwellings in the region equaling $1,798,786. per month or $21,585,432. per yr.

 

Development Cost Charges (NEW Metro Vancouver)

                        effective Jan. 15th 2020                      effective Jan. 1st, 2021          

Single family   $2,100 unit                                         $2,975 unit                            

Duplex            $1,900 unit                                         $2,470 unit

Townhouse    $1,900 unit                                         $2,470 unit

Apartment     $1,200 unit                                         $1,545 unit    

Retail/Serv     $1.25 / ft2                                           $1.25 / ft2

Office              $1.25 / ft2                                           $1.25 / ft2

Institutional   $0.50 / ft2                                           $0.50 / ft2

Industrial        $0.30 / ft2                                           $0.30 / ft2

NOTE – Introduced in 2018, rates come into effect Jan.15 2020 and increase in 2021. This Development Cost Charge fee is just another tax, which makes housing that much more unaffordable to hard working residents trying to afford their first home.       

 

The approved parking tax funding increase approved last Spring were for major projects, the LRT in Surrey (Not SkyTrain to Langley which is under review for a Business Plan since last December, yet to be voted on.) and the Broadway extension.

And TransLink wants more?

We don’t have a revenue problem, we have a SPENDING problem!

TransLink want more of your money while their spending decisions are irresponsible and out of control -

To the latest presentation by the TransLink Mayors Council to the Provincial Government? Township of Langley Mayor Jack Froese, TransLink Mayors Council vice-chairman put it in succinct terms last week and said everything is on the table, from mobility pricing — which was studied two years ago — and land-value capture, to sales tax, a vehicle levy, and carbon tax.” Really, after the region wide plebiscite was rejected a short 5 years ago?

It is interesting that they are making this move complaining about the drop in revenue in fare box, gas tax and parking BUT they said nothing about their recent approval for significant Transit “Development Cost Charge” revenue that just kicked in on January 1st, 2020 with a significant increase January 1st 2021 (above). This significant fee will be applied to single family, Duplex, Townhouses, Apartments, Retail, Office, Institutional, and Industrial property development. They have not yet been able to determine what revenue will be achieved through this new source, and yet they are looking for more!

They did not mention the monthly BC Hydro Transit Levy on your Hydro Bill! The amount? Over $21.5 million per year.

TransLink LossesThey claim it will be between $544 Million and $1.4 Billion by the end of next year and yet they claim all projects are moving ahead as planned? All of this and they just announced they are going ahead with a new $110 Million SkyTrain Control Center that will look after the NEW Broadway Subway Line and the Fraser Highway SkyTrain Line to Langley City despite the fact they are $2 Billion short in funding this project and it has yet been approved?  

Summary on Taxation One thing that cannot be challenged by looking at all of these real numbers, TransLink taxation and spending is out of control. When the Mayor of Surrey runs his election campaign under the Safe Surrey Coalition on two primary promises 1) A change to a City Police Force from the RCMP stating during the election campaign that it would only be a 10% increase to taxpayers (not going to happen) and 2) he promises a change from the approved and funded LRT, Guildford down 104th to Surrey Center South on King George Blvd. to Newton. In their first meeting of this term the Mayors Council changed the Surrey project to SkyTrain from Surrey Center to Langley City on his urging for the same price – $1.65 Billion, and not one penny more said Mayor McCallum.

TransLink has spent over $50 Million in LRT prep costs and Mayor McCallum dismisses it as irrelevant and then TransLink are going to buy into it? That is nothing short of irresponsible! The Mayors TransLink Council has got to put a brake on TransLink and their irresponsible taxation, planning and spending.

What are we hearing now – Gondolas up to SFU and now an on-call Bus system for Bowen Island. We are in serious need of Provincial Government intervention. We are in serious need of the TransLink Council to back off any more votes (no quorum) so that some common sense can be brought back into a responsible Inter-regional Transportation system.

Take a close look at the TransLink taxation and spending decisions that are currently in effect – we cannot continue in this direction! You are and will be paying handsomely for the Surrey / McCallum / SkyTrain debacle, all taxpayers in Metro Vancouver will be paying for this irresponsible decision. It is not too late to change, the Province has not given their final decision.

Again…

“We don’t have a revenue problem! We have a SPENDING problem!”

 

“I was a member of the Mayors TransLink Council, and I got to know and understand up close and personal who is really running things and it is not the Mayors Council but then again, they are allowing this to happen! Taxpayers should be concerned!” Rick Green

 

Sincerely,

 

Rick Green

Former Mayor Township of Langley

Former Alderman City of Delta

President, South Fraser Community Rail Society

 

Bill Vander Zalm

Former Premier of British Columbia

Former B.C. Minister for Municipal Affairs and Transit

Former Mayor of the City of Surrey

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