Mayors will "capitulate" and okay $130-million TransLink supplement, Corrigan says
Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan believes his fellow Metro Vancouver mayors will “capitulate” and approve $130 million in additional funding to keep TransLink solvent and stave off service cuts.
Corrigan laid the blame for TransLink’s financial crunch at the feet of the provincial government, which in July ordered B.C.’s comptroller general to conduct a review of TransLink that was supposed to be wrapped up by September 30.
“It’s total capitulation,” Corrigan told the Straight via cellphone. “The province has said very clearly that they don’t intend to do anything until they get the comptroller general’s report. They have made it perfectly clear they don’t see any obligation to do any funding of the system. They have made it clear that they think there is more room in property taxes. They’ve completely denied any access to carbon taxes. So, I mean, they’ve pretty well boxed the Metro government.”
The provincial government has also told Metro Vancouver that it would be “irresponsible” for the mayors not to pick up the $130 million, Corrigan claimed.
“Then, if we’re good, they’ve promised they might decide to talk to us later about how they might help,” Corrigan said. “So, I mean, under those circumstances, going ahead and investing $130 million more of taxpayers money to keep the corporation’s nose above water will not make any difference to transit service at all in the future, and in fact will mean cuts even now.”
On Friday morning (October 23), the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation will vote to adopt one of three funding options for TransLink.
The middle-path $130-million “Funding Stabilization” option would result in a three-cent-a-litre increase in fuel taxes and fare increases to fund TransLink’s 10-year plan, but would mean minimal service cuts.
Under the “Base Plan” option, mayors may withhold a supplement, but this would trigger 40 percent service cuts, according to TransLink.
The more expensive option, “Maintain & Upgrade”, looks to be off the table, as it would require $275 million in additional funding per year, and none of the mayors the Straight interviewed spoke in favour of it.
“My gut feeling is that the wisdom of the day says we can’t not vote for a supplement,” City of Langley mayor Peter Fassbender told the Straight by phone. “I think we need to keep the transit system alive and moving forward as best we can. So, my intuition tells me we will be looking at the $130-million option.”
Asked how he thought things would shake down, Maple Ridge mayor Ernie Daykin told the Straight, “I think it will more than likely be the $130-million option. That’s where I’m coming from.”
Daykin said he doesn’t “disagree” with Corrigan about standing up to the province, but said he thought Metro Vancouver mayors “should be at the table”.
“Otherwise, I don’t know what the implications are [of no supplement],” Daykin said. “Potentially they [the province] will take it over and we’ll have no say.”
Corrigan claimed the province has already demonstrated political interference in TransLink’s affairs by insisting on the installation of turnstiles, which he said will cost $179 million in capital outlay and further burden TransLink with an annual operating cost of at least $20 million.
Port Coquitlam mayor Greg Moore said he was “not sure” which option he would pick, but admitted mayors face a “tough decision”.
“Do we vote for the $130-million supplementary budget option to keep service levels as they are, or do we vote it down and send a message to TransLink and to the provincial government that we need a sustainable funding model?” Moore said by phone. “There is a good argument that we should keep the doors open and live for another day...to sustain operating funding.”
Oct 21, 2009 at 4:40pm
Should the BC Govt pay, or should Metro pay? That question translates to who should pay for urban infrastructure? Should it be urban taxpayers, or all taxpayers in B.C., including those living in smaller centres and in rural areas.
Oct 21, 2009 at 7:41pm
In the link to the Regional Transportation Commissioner’s Report, how is TransLink arriving at an increase of 26% in ridership by 2019 with the additional $130 million/yr which TransLink is really looking for to finance the carrying costs on the RAV Line? TransLink could buy another 50,000 buses and it wouldn’t substantially increase ridership because most people don’t want to take transit.
I literally live 50 m from either the #4 or #17 bus stop and almost never take transit. I cycle to work instead to minimize the chances of catching swine flu and other bugs on the bus as I have asthma, likely attributable to the diesel bus emissions from the crappy soot blowing 99 B-Line diesel buses passing by my residence every 30 seconds at times.
I support trolley-bus or hybrid- bus transit for people to live and work in their community and would be prepared to pay $2/liter or more for gas to improve transit. However, I don’t support the Evergreen Line scam and other such scams by TransLink. TransLink wants to build a transit empire for job security to turn Vancouver into another Toronto where people commute hours each day on transit to go to work or school. No thanks, we don’t need the transit sprawl and rat race here!
Greg Moore, the transit decision isn’t a tough choice if you have any integrity and intelligence. Don’t give TransLink another penny until it improves its performance to reduce fares even if it means cutting redundant service like transit to UBC at 3:30 AM and firing a bunch of useless transit executives! Thankfully at least, Derek Corrigan isn’t duped by TransLink and its transit crap.
Oct 21, 2009 at 10:12pm
Taxes are set to increase by 50% over the next five years to maintain sewers and water treatment, $661 for homeowners. Now is not the time to spend any money on transit. TransLink is a big part of the $661/yr tax increase with its proposed Evergreen Line bringing in more people to the region when we don't have jobs for the one who are already here. Scrap TransLink before it sinks us.
Oct 21, 2009 at 11:03pm
What's with all the negative votes in just a few minutes? Some TransLink wanker must be upset at not being able to censor comments and articles like on the VS where the staff writers are TransLink stooges.
Oct 22, 2009 at 12:19pm
Pardon me, did you say $179 for turnstiles? I wonder whether this has anything to do with Ken Dobell, the former deputy minister to Premier Campbell, lobbying for Cubic which makes turnstiles, smart cards and more?
Why do we need turnstiles, there are 321 transit police and station attendants now employed by Translink and more employed by a SNC Lavalin's subsiduary operating and maintaining the Canada Line. There are a total of 46 stations. Why do we need turnstiles with this massive police and security force now employed and working on three urban rail lines?
Oct 22, 2009 at 12:57pm
Any money to TransLink is just rewarding incompetence and that's a shame.
Oct 22, 2009 at 8:45pm
Can't wait for bozo the clown, Robertson, the future NDP Premier, to decide our fate tomorrow by giving his beloved TransLink our money.
Oct 23, 2009 at 10:16pm
Time for tolls on all bridges and major roads in the region including those to downtown Vancouver. Use the tolls to fund transit improvements and increase the tolls as transit gets better and better.
Oct 24, 2009 at 10:15am
Robertson, the future NDP Premier?!? HaHaHa - this guy is nothing but a younger gordon campbell
Oct 28, 2009 at 1:13pm
"Time for tolls on all bridges and major roads in the region including those to downtown Vancouver. Use the tolls to fund transit improvements and increase the tolls as transit gets better and better."
I wonder if Taxpayer means tolls on the Cambie, Burrard and Granville Street Bridges, or not? I think they could be exempted, along with the new Pitt River Bridge and the structures over the North Arm of the Fraser (Queensborough, Knight, Oak, Arthur Laing, No 2 Road). It's the crossings of the harbour and the main channel of the Fraser where tolls are needed since the replacement cost of those structures is so high.
These tolls should be used to pay for bridge maintenance and construction of new crossings over time, such as a Patullo replacement, a Boundary Road crossing, and Deep Cove-Belcarra.