TransLink suspends planned improvements after loss of property-tax funds
Plans to expand and upgrade the regional transit system have been shelved because of uncertainty over funding, TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis said today (April 17).
The announcement comes after the TransLink mayors’ council voted to back out of an agreement to use a property-tax increase to help pay for the planned improvements.
“The prospect of losing the two years of temporary property tax approved by the mayors last fall impacts our ability to deliver those plans,” Jarvis said during a phone-in news conference.
“So we’re going to put those on hold until we have an understanding of how we’re going to pay for those improvements.”
Initiatives under the plan include rapid bus service on Highway 1 and the new Port Mann Bridge, B-Line service along King George Boulevard in Surrey, renovations to several SkyTrain stations, and increased bus and SeaBus service hours.
However, Jarvis said other funding is already in place for the Evergreen Line SkyTrain expansion, and new transit service between White Rock and Langley will still be introduced.
Funding is also in place to continue planning for the replacement of the Pattullo Bridge between New Westminster and Surrey, he said.
Jarvis said TransLink will also address a pending provincial audit of the transit authority and the recent TransLink commissioner’s recommendations for savings.
“However, we must be responsible in the way we move forward,” Jarvis said. “To simply rely on the prospect of potential cost savings in the future is not fiscally sound.”
“And that’s why we need the province and the mayors’ council to continue to work on finding solutions to sustainable funding for the transportation system.”
TransLink commissioner Martin Crilly also recently rejected a proposed 12.5-percent supplementary increase to transit fares for 2013.
Jarvis emphasized TransLink remains committed to serving transit users across Metro Vancouver.
“TransLink is a well-run organization. We’ve been challenged to do better and we will,” he said.