A Surrey transit advocate fears the suburbs could lose out on desperately needed improvements to bus service because of recent uncertainty over TransLink’s funding.
The TransLink mayors council announced yesterday it had voted to withdraw the option of using a municipal property-tax hike to partially fund a three-year transit-expansion plan.
The move came after Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom ruled out using new revenue sources like the carbon tax, additional fuel taxes, or vehicle tolls to fund TransLink.
In part, the regional transit-expansion plan would see new rapid bus service along King George Boulevard, across the new Port Mann Bridge, and in other areas.
Stephanie Ryan, a council candidate in the last Surrey election, expressed worry the planned service increases are now in jeopardy.
“I expect that the expansion of services will be scrapped and that existing services will be at risk as well,” Ryan told the Straight by phone today (April 13).
“I think that it’s a real shame because it’s just one more example of the suburbs losing out within TransLink.”
In a statement yesterday, TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis said a review of the decision by the mayors council is needed to determine the impact on the transportation authority.
Ryan didn’t blame the civic leaders for protecting a key municipal revenue source. However, she said not enough time was set aside to find alternative funding options.
“If Surrey’s truly striving to become urban, people need to have transportation options outside of just driving.”