Premier hints that transit-funding referendum might be delayed until after civic vote


Premier Christy Clark has hinted that she may not combine a transit-funding referendum with the 2014 municipal elections in the Lower Mainland.

"So it's certainly my hope that we can do it in November," Clark told reporters today. "But I do know that the mayors have been saying they need more time if they want to be leaders on this—and they need to be leaders on this if the referendum is going to succeed. It's their taxpayer. It's their organization in TransLink. They are the ones that will have to lead the debate. We are enabling it as a province. We are enabling the people of the province, the citizens of the Lower Mainland, to vote on it. But it's ultimately the mayors that are going to have to lead it. They're saying they need more time to lead it. So we're talking to them about that."

In their 2013 election platform, the B.C. Liberals promised "a referendum to be held at the same time as the municipal elections in November 2014" before any new revenue sources for transit funding would be approved.

Since then, Clark has announced that the province will replace the George Massey Tunnel with a new bridge at a cost of close to $3 billion. Clark has not promised a referendum in connection with the new bridge.

Meanwhile, daily vehicle traffic through the George Massey Tunnel dropped 7.5 percent from 2004 to 2008, according to TransLink statistics.

But she hasn't completely backed off a referendum for transit funding.

Clark said today that she wants this vote to "work" for the mayors and TransLInk.

Nevertheless, she insisted that her "top commitment" is to taxpayers and transit users of the Lower Mainland.

"And I appreciate that referenda can be complicated and these have been complicated in other jurisdictions, and sometimes they need a little more time," the premier said. "That's what the mayors have been saying. [Transportation Minister] Todd Stone is continuing to talk to them about that. So will I."

Comments (3) Add New Comment
James Blatchford
Just another twist in this bungling, incoherent transportation file for the Liberals. Poor Todd Stone having to sort out the mess of his predecessors, who, decided that politics trumps policy when dealing with area mayors. But now the Liberals need the support of mayors, because without it, this referendum question - or questions - is as doomed as a Mike Duffy rent expense claim. I suggest we bring back the Port Mann ice bombs, divide the roadway into squares, and play cow pie bingo. Couldn't be any worse a way to decide transportation policy than what we have before us today.

Rating: +3
Enough already!
Who promised the referendum? Christy.
Who has spent months 'getting up to speed' on the file? Stone.
Who is now responsible for a referendum they never wanted? The Mayors?!?!
The province has rejected every suggestion so far put forth by the Mayors. Quite dismissively.
They have pretty much suggested everything, so if Christy has a brilliant idea we haven't heard,now would be the time to spit it out!
Its like this, Christy; we all know that the referendum was merely a diversion to avoid discussion of the issue during the campaign. We also know that without proper preparation, it is doomed to fail. Many of us will vote against the transit they want, merely because we object to the unelected, unaccountable Translink.
The Mayors have done their bit. The Province has rejected their input. Christy thinks a referendum absolves her of responsibility. (It doesn't).
It is time for the Province to do the job they were elected to do, provide funding, and let the Mayors figure out how to disperse it. Putting the cart before the horse has never gotten anyone very far. Provide a figure, then the plans can happen. Planning without a budget is 'wishing and hoping'.
Rating: +6
First we heard about Christy's cop-out-referendum there was to be a "none-of-the-above" option on the ballot. Then it was a multiple choice question, then was thrown at the lackey minister to figure this out because this is a dead horse and Christy wants nothing to do with it! HE said one question, Christy disagreed. Then it was to bully the mayors into running HER dead horse and sway the outcome of the municipal elections. Obviously Christy does not like this group of mayors. Not it is to postpone this silly referendum until 2017?

I don't think Christy has "it" to be a leader. This is a golden opportunity for her and she has absolutely no clue on how to handle it.

Christy in the Dark - All show and NO go!
Rating: -2
Add new comment
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.