Former mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe says it's time Metro Vancouver politicians find a plan B for transit funding

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      We’re only on day 12 of 75 for voting in the Lower Mainland transportation referendum but Vancouver’s runner up for mayor has already called it for the “no” side.

      In a March 26 blog post titled “Some early post-plebiscite thoughts”, former NPA candidate Kirk LaPointe writes “it is time to admit the obvious”.

      He blames much of the “yes” side’s woes not on the Mayors’ Council or the campaign itself, but on the provincial Liberal government.

      “It was never set up to run well,” suggests the UBC adjunct professor of journalism and former managing editor of the Vancouver Sun.

      “The province created a mess in TransLink. It threw the public transit needs of the region back to the public and delegated when it should have represented. And it forced the Yes campaign to use the end (much-needed transit improvement) to justify the means (a slightly cowardly additional tax).

      “There was not enough time to develop buy-in on a new tax that wasn’t mentioned in the recent municipal campaign, so little wonder there is a visceral pushback to anything that will make a very costly place more expensive.”

      Of course TransLink also takes its well-deserved portion of the blame.

      “There is not enough transparency about the financial operations of some cities or of TransLink so people can see for themselves if there are other financial options,” LaPointe continues. “And there is no capacity by the people asking for the money to deal with the governance problems of the institution that will decide how to spend it.”

      And then there was that spark of brilliance early in the campaign, LaPointe recalls, when TransLink thought it could alleviate criticisms of high CEO salaries by appointing a new CEO with a new CEO’s salary while keeping on the old CEO with his old CEO’s salary.

      “You can’t win with a context like that,” he says.

      Further down the page, LaPointe makes a few general suggestions for what could happen next.

      “What is most distressing is to hear elected officials say there is no Plan B, because that is what they’re paid to do — have a Plan B, C, D, and whatever it takes to effect the change no one is disagreeing is needed.”

      What Metro Vancouver needs is a “new TransLink model” as well as a new “hybrid financing model”, LaPointe concludes.

      “It is time for the backroom brains to get from A to B now, to devise another plan that is handy when the result comes in this summer,” he advises. “If nothing else, it will be necessary to get the issue on the agenda of the federal election in the fall and press the parties to finance their share.”




      Mar 27, 2015 at 11:56am

      Hooray for the 'no' vote!


      Mar 27, 2015 at 12:21pm

      Gregor campaigned/grandstanded on how much Translink sucked then turns around and wants to give them $7,700,000,000 to spend. Surprise surprise it has blown up in his face. Who the hell says there are no alternative plans to a multi-billion project?

      Captain obvious

      Mar 27, 2015 at 1:17pm

      This was more of an obvious win then the referendum against HST.

      For politicians to say they "have no plan B" is the equivalent of saying "I don't know how to do my job".

      If one of my employees said that I would fire them immediately.

      Im still mailing in my no vote because we need to send a strong message. Ill be the no vote is above 80%.


      Mar 27, 2015 at 4:02pm

      Even if they did have a plan B, why would they tell people about it? It would be an admission that they were going to lose. Referendums don't generally present a menu of options.

      It might be time for Robertson to scale back his wish list. Maybe a Millenium line extension to Olympic village, with another B line along 6th ave, connecting with Broadway at Arbutus. Not as sexy as a subway, but it would take UBC traffic off the most congested part of Broadway, while bringing greater cohesion to the Skytrain network. And it would knock about $two billion off the price tag of the mayors' plan.

      Steve y

      Mar 28, 2015 at 11:55am

      A plan b would help the yes side. It gives clear choice plan a yes or b this. Now the no side can spin no to mean whatever they want (reform, no Broadway skytrain whatever

      Steph Nicolls, Vancouver, BC

      Mar 28, 2015 at 8:38pm

      Comments from readers who use psuedonames are only so credible. People: Stand behind what you think, say and do - with your actual name. Georgia Straight: don't you agree? In any case, I say NO to Translink. First learn to charge all your passengers for riding your (our) transit, then get your own "house" in order. Then let's talk.

      Barking Mad

      Mar 31, 2015 at 11:52am

      I use public transit and believe that public transit is essential for moving large numbers of people in an urban environment. I have no doubt that something needs to be done and do not object to a 0.5% sales tax increase. So, why do I have doubts on how to vote?

      1) I am being held hostage by the YES side who tell me that only a YES vote will ensure transit for a livable region. Pay up according to our instructions or suffer the consequences. in addition, by voting NO my sin will be passed onto future generations who will continue to suffer.

      2) Will my money be spent in the most effective (or even proper) way to get the best results? Will the provincial government be able to dip into the funds for unrelated projects that they screw up? The YES side response seems to be: "No guarantee funds will be properly spent, but as only a YES vote has any chance of averting transit chaos you have no choice."

      3) The Compass Card project delays hardly inspire confidence in Translink's planning. Are they waiting for funding from a YES win to cover the money wasted so far to be able to continue?

      4) If the future of transit and the quality of life in the region for generations to come depends on this single decision, and there is no other possible option, is it not the height of irresponsibility to put it to a vote?

      Look...there is a Plan B

      Apr 16, 2015 at 3:13pm

      It's plan A. Plan B = Plan A.

      If you voted no you didnt actually think they would stop dead in their tracks did you?

      If you voted yes you didnt actually think they would stop dead in their tracks did you?

      READ plan A. It is on the Mayors' council website. It is described in the printed materials that you received with your ballot.

      If they dont get the go ahead to tax you with sales tax, or if they DO get the go ahead to tax you with sales tax, the PLAN is and has been for as long as I've heard former head of Mayors' council Richard Walton speak on the matter, to implement surveillance tracking of all vehicles and charge for using the road at all.

      The plan is .. ROAD PRICING. Oh they changed the name to mobility pricing but it's the same thing. It means they are going to TAX you by renting your roads back to you. Load up the cost of transit onto car drivers by renting roads to anyione who drives. How do you do that? You do it electronically, something like when you cross the new Port Mann and your transponder sticker is sensed and you automatically get a bill for using the bridge, but it will apply to ANY use of your car. This can be done in a number of ways but probably the system used to track truckers using a GPS transponder is most favoured. You pay to move your car. You pay to NOT move your car, parking. You pay to have the transponder installed. You get a bill once a month. They can change the rates at will. If you dont put in a transponder, then your ICBC insurance will be automatically invalid. Drivers PAY is Plan B and Plan A.

      PLan B = Plan A.