The SkyTrain Subsidy Revisited

The SkyTrain and Canada Line light-metro are bleeding over

$350 million from TransLink’s $1.2 billion budget!

In 1993, the GVRD (now Metro) and Transport 2021, published the study, “The Cost of Transporting People in the BC Lower Mainland” and for the first time the annual SkyTrain subsidy was mentioned. In 1991, SkyTrain was subsidized to the tune of$157.6 million, more than half of the total subsidy paid for public transit in the Lower Mainland. BC Transit then, as TransLink does today, ignores this vast sum of taxpayer’s dollars subsidizing the metro and make erroneous statements that SkyTrain pays its operating costs, etc.

The portion of the SkyTrain subsidy is thus:

Gas taxAi?? – Ai??Ai?? $17.8 mil. out of $47.4 mil. collected

Hydro LevyAi?? -Ai?? $4.7 mil. out of $12.6 mil. collected

Commercial Property TaxAi?? -Ai?? $9 mil. out of $24 mil. collected

Residential Property TaxAi?? -Ai?? $5.2 mil. out of $14 mil collected

Provincial GovernmentAi?? -Ai?? $120.9 mil. out of $196.8 mil. paid

TotalAi?? -Ai?? $157.6 out of $294.8 paid

With the opening of the Millennium Line, SkyTrain’s annual subsidy increased past $200 million and with the Canada Line metro, the subsidy has again increased. In 2012 TransLink paid the consortium which operates the Canada Line $145 million which is two to three times more than would have been paid to comparable light rail operations.

What is interesting to note, just two years worth of SkyTrain’s annual subsidy could fund a basic Vancouver to Chilliwack Interurban demonstration service; four years worth of SkyTrain’s annual subsidy could fund the full build Leewood/RftV interurban!

For the likes of Daryl, Rico, or the rest of the SkyTrain Lobby, who think that SkyTrain operates for free, think again. Skytrain is very expensive for the job it does and to ignore the correlation between TransLink’s financial mess and continued light-metro construction, is sheer folly.

There is a good reason why no one builds with SkyTrain and for TransLink to even contemplate building more, especially a Skytrain subway under Broadway, clearly demonstrates the organizations total disregard towards its finances.

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