P. T. Barnum Was Right – There Is A Sucker Born Every Minute!

Psssst…….hey want to buy some stock in Nose Dive Airlines or a gold mine on Mars, well come to Metro Vancouver because we have city mayors that would.

With absolutely no guarantee, just a promise from TransLink, that the extra two cent a litre tax increase will actually improve transit, several mayors have blundered ahead on stealing more tax monies from beleaguered taxpayer's, without any taxpayer input. "We know better", is the politician's refrain.

Refusing to address the reality that it is the SkyTrain light metro system that is bankrupting TransLink, those voting for a tax increase live in a dreamworld where the regions populace are just dying to give more hard earned money to TransLink.

Me thinks reality will sink in when civic elections are held in November and many who voted for the tax will be without a job, as the taxpayer has grow weary of TransLink's demands.

Majority of Metro Vancouver mayors set to boost gas tax to pay for more transit

 By Kelly Sinoski, Vancouver SunOctober 4, 2011


Regional mayors (from left to right) Dianne Watts from Surrey, Pam Goldsmith-Jones from West Vancouver, Richard Stewart from Coquitlam, Peter Fassbender from Langley and Gregor Robertson from Vancouver.

Photograph by: Jason Payne, PNG

METRO VANCOUVER – Seven Metro Vancouver mayors, including those in Surrey and Vancouver, will vote in favour of a TransLink plan Friday that calls for a two-cents-a-litre boost in the gas tax to pay for the Evergreen Line and other regional transit projects.

Calling it an “unprecedented show of strength,” the mayors, who represent 70 per cent of Metro’s 2.5-million population, say it’s critical to start building a regional transit system to ease congestion and offer transportation options for the movement of goods and people.

The group, which includes Coquitlam, Langley City, Port Coquitlam, West Vancouver and North Vancouver District, holds enough weighted votes to pass the plan, despite opposition from heavyweights like Burnaby and Richmond. North Vancouver City and Delta are also expected to oppose the plan.

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts said it wasn’t easy to advocate for any kind of tax increase for transit expansion, but the group felt it had to start planning for the future, especially as Metro Vancouver prepares to welcome another million people by 2040 — most of whom will move to transit-poor areas like Surrey and Langley.

Metro also has one of the busiest border crossings in the country, she noted.

“It’s imperative we start planning now. If we do nothing now and do nothing about the future, we’re going to be in a mess,” Watts told The Vancouver Sun editorial board Tuesday. “We’re going to see an influx of people; we have to get those cars off the road.”

TransLink’s Moving Forward plan aims to raise $40 million annually through a two-cent increase in the gas tax — to take effect next April — and another $30 million through user-pay measures such as a vehicle levy, road congestion charges, carbon tax or tolls.

A potential time-limited property tax increase of an average $23 per homeowner will come into effect in 2013-14 if alternative funding sources can’t be found within the next year.

Mayors of communities south of the Fraser and the Tri-Cities, which have been waiting decades for the Evergreen Line, tend to be more supportive of the plan than other municipalities. Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said while he supports using the gas tax to build the Evergreen Line, he won’t support any plan that includes an increase in property taxes, even as a stopgap measure.

Within two years, TransLink would be back looking for more money, he suggested.

“Ever since its inception, TransLink has faced a funding shortage; it’s been in a critical situation always,” Brodie said. “I believe that we have to have a long-term focus and come up with a permanent solution and not lurch from crisis to crisis.”

Langley Township Mayor Rick Green agreed. He is leaning against supporting the plan, noting that his community has been funnelling money into TransLink and not seeing any returns because the mayors have no control over the projects that TransLink proposes.

“It’s a very tough decision for us out there,” he said.

But the other mayors say they are committed to coming up with alternatives to raising property taxes in 2013, and finally have the opportunity to work with the province to find that long-term funding.

They acknowledge car-dependent communities, such as those south of the Fraser, will pay more for the transit plan in the short term, but vowed to look at making the plan more fair and equitable across the region. This could include tolling existing bridges and roads and a graduated vehicle levy, Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender said.

The plan calls for building the long-awaited Evergreen Line, as well as major improvements to SkyTrain stations at Metrotown, Main Street, Surrey Central and New Westminster and the Lonsdale SeaBus terminal; a new B-Line along King George Highway from White Rock to Guildford; more bus routes in south Surrey and Langley; Highway 1 rapid transit from Langley to Lougheed station; and road and cycling improvements.

“There’s pressure on the existing transit system, whether it’s pass-ups on buses in Vancouver or congestion south of the Fraser,” Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson told The Vancouver Sun editorial board Tuesday. “We simply must invest in a more robust transit system.”

Robertson said people in Vancouver would be willing to pay for the plan because it will provide more access to the rest of the region.

“We’re going to be paying more but we have more to gain,” Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart said.

TransLink’s 2040 Strategic Plan aims to have 51 per cent of Metro Vancouver’s daily commuters going to work using public transit, bicycles or on foot as a way to reduce carbon emissions.


Leave A Comment