SkyTrain Is At The Centre Of TransLink’s Finacial Woes
Long time transit advocate, Malcolm Johnston has had a very good letter printed in the weeklies and at least one daily newspaper, pointing out that the SkyTrain and light-metro are at the root of TransLink’s financial ills.
No doubt the SkyTrain lobby will react negatively to Mr. Johnston’s letter, but their time is presently occupied chirping at TransLink because of the proposal to reduce headways by two minutes at slack times.
In 1980, SkyTrain was sold on the basis of being a ‘wonder system’ costing almost nothing to operate because it was driverless, while real experts predicted a future of very large fiscal problems with the very expensive light-metro. Today those predictions have come true and in 1993, the study, “The Cost of Transporting……..”, firmly showed, with hard figures, that one SkyTrain line (the Expo Line) cost more to subsidize than all of BC Transit’s diesel and trolley bus lines in the then GVRD.
It seems our current batch of so called transit experts promoting SkyTrain do not read nor want to read our local transit history and by doing so are leading local and BC taxpayer’s into financial Armageddon with road pricing.
Road pricing all about keeping status quo
Published: October 24, 2012 2:00 PM
The real reason for the newest flavour of taxation policies – road pricing, to further fund a decrepit regional transit authority, can be laid squarely at the feet of both the SkyTrain light metro and the BC Liberal government pilfering of gas/carbon tax monies for general revenue.
Despite the hype and hoopla about SkyTrain, the proprietary light-metro is just too expensive to build and operate, as evidenced by the Canada Line which is not SkyTrain at all, but a cheaper off the shelf knock-off. SkyTrain was too expensive for the Canada Line.
On page 15, in the 1993, joint GVRD/Min. of Transportation report, “The Cost of Transporting People in the BC Lower Mainland”, it was revealed that the annual provincial subsidy for SkyTrain was $157.6 million; the combined subsidy for the diesel and trolley buses was just $132.4 million. With the addition of the Millennium Line, this subsidy increased to over $200 million and with the Canada line, this annual subsidy has now surpassed $300 million.
It becomes easier to see why there is no extra money for TransLink, because TransLink is already quietly getting a big chunk of transit cash from the province.
The Evergreen Line will only add to this annual subsidy, further exacerbating problems with TransLink’s dubious finances.
When the Gordon Campbell Liberals gained office, they instantly reduced taxes and greatly increased user fees and levies. To maintain revenue, the BC Liberals diverted gas tax and carbon tax monies into general revenue, to balance the books. Tax monies earmarked for regional transportation just disappeared into the black hole of general revenue.
TransLink is deliberately hiding the real truth about their ongoing financial malaise because they have compliant regional mayors who seem to be ever so willing to destroy their political careers to force yet another onerous tax on the taxed-out local taxpayer.
Road pricing is all about keeping the status-quo with the bloated bureaucrats at TransLink, who like alcoholics refusing to accept that they are addicted booze, are addicted to dated and transit planning and continue to squander huge sums of tax monies on SkyTrain such as the UBC SkyTrain subway in Vancouver. Road pricing is all about once again screwing the taxpayer to pay for bureaucratic and political hubris.
Malcolm Johnston, Delta
As well an edited version was also printed in the Vancouver Sun