The Politics of Fear

It seems if all else fails for the TransLink referendum, scare the people to vote for yes for more money. This is called the politics of fear.

The harsh facts are that three LRT lines in Surrey and a SkyTrain subway under Broadway will not alleviate traffic congestion in the region!

To be successful, transit must attract the motorist from the car and if the present $9 billion SkyTrain/Canada Line mini-metro system hasn’t, doing more the same with a Broadway subway and ill planned LRT in Surrey, will not as well.

Transit is a consumer product and yet, no one at TransLink, nor the Cities of Vancouver and Surrey have asked the consumer what he or she wants and for good reason because the transit consumer will want transit investment that will not be in the best political interest.

The Broadway SkyTrain subway is just daft, designed solely for political prestige and the three surrey LRT lines really do not satisfy transit needs. For LRT to succeed in Surrey it must access directly into Burnaby and Vancouver and for a SkyTrain subway under Broadway, there must be at least an average of 15,000 persons per hour per direction to make it viable.

Here is TransLink’s problem, instead of embarking on a radical change to regional transit planning, it is sticking to the script of building massively expensive subways and over engineering LRT to such an extend it can barely be recognizable as light rail, paid for of course, the rubes that Translink perceives what the taxpayer is.

Let’s scare TransLink and provincial and civic politicians by demanding a royal commission on regional transit.

Failed TransLink funding referendum would imperil region’s economy, Vancouver and Surrey mayors warn

By Kelly Sinoski, Vancouver Sun January 16, 2014

METRO VANCOUVER — The mayors of B.C.’s two biggest cities say a failed referendum on TransLink funding would ‘imperil the economy’ and make Vancouver uncompetitive, noting major cities around the world are putting investments in transportation.

Both Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson raised concerns that the province has yet to provide a specific question or campaign around the referendum, which is slated to be held during the municipal elections in November.

Robertson said not only does he expect the referendum to fail, but it would likely pit communities against each other during the upcoming election campaign.

“Right now we’re in a slow state of decline,” he said during a panel discussion at the Vancouver Board of Trade on Thursday. “We’re in trouble enough. There’s urgency. It should not be on the local ballot.”

Robertson added there’s a desperate need for TransLink funding, particularly for three rapid transit lines in Surrey as well a connection from the Millennium Line to a new subway along Broadway to the University of B.C. but the issue should be considered separately from the election.

Watts said she’s not even sure what the provincial objective is to go to a referendum. She argued the region’s transportation system should be a collective effort from all three levels of government, and involve a fair and equitable road pricing and land-use policy for the next 20 to 30 years.

Different cities have different reasons for more transit, she added. Vancouver needs transit to serve demand, while Surrey needs it to shape it. Yet the Port Mann Bridge and Massey Tunnel, for example, are a provincial responsibility, while TransLink has control of the Patullo and Golden Ears bridges.

“It’s a mishmash of nonsense,” she said. “There has to be a master plan that brings together all the plans in a comprehensive way forward for infrastructure and sustainable funding for it.”

Watts said if she were drafting the referendum question, it would likely ask if the public was interested in reducing gas taxes, capping the three per cent property tax for TransLink and supporting a fair and equitable road pricing policy that would likely see $1 tolls on every crossing rather than “tolling single pieces of infrastructure at a high rate.”

“It is not fair, it is not equitable and it penalizes people,” she said. “Everyone uses the infrastructure regardless of where it’s at in the region.”

Dr. Peter Hall, associate director of urban studies at Simon Fraser University, warned a failed referendum “it could have negative consequences for the entire province.”

Economist Ken Peacock said there is still some time to get the funding sources in place but acknowledged some of the decisions made this year will have “long-term impacts.” If don’t get new revenue sources will see more congestion and waits at bus stops.

But he said the politicians should not rule out the public savvy. “We may be surprised. The public is a lot more in tune than politicians give them credit for,” he said. “They drive the roads every day.”

More to come


2 Responses to “The Politics of Fear”
  1. eric chris says:

    First, fear mongering by the mayors is not only offensive but also shows that some mayors in Metro Vancouver are not interested in improving transit and are looking to profit from developers controlled by Chinese investors creating enclaves for the future wave of Chinese settlers.

    What makes it right for “investors” who make their money in China lacking basic human rights to buy Canada – to shut out Canadians who can’t afford to live in the million dollar condos along sky train lines in Vancouver? Even the Chinese community here is grumbling at this and is upset:

    As an Australian, my sense of justice might differ from the average Canadian’s. In Australia, the politicians shut the door on the “investors” and the “investors” who are crooked communists exploiting children and the poor and who don’t hold our values bought the easy to bribe Canadian politicians and made the B-Line to Vancouver, it seems.

    I’ve lived and worked in Asia for years and have many Korean, Chinese and Japanese friends. My comments are merely objective and the traitors selling out Canada can hold their self-righteous crap about helping cut “gridlock with transit by TransLink”. They are helping loot taxpayers to profit from transit, instead.

    Second, what is the design basis for transit here? Sky train is going after the small number of commuters who travel over 15 km. These commuters represent fewer than 25% of the commuters in Metro Vancouver, refer to Figure 1 from Statistics Canada, a fairly reputable source:

    TransLink has foregone 75% of the commuters to chase individuals who are willing to spend three or four hours on transit to get to work or school. Is this a good business model? Let them drive and go after the 75% of the commuters whose short commute suits trams costing far less to build and which have the potential to put three times the commuters on transit.

    More funding for TransLink? You have to be kidding. More like jail time for the swindlers who have been fleecing taxpayers to build sky train lines catering to the minority of commuters at a premium cost.


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