Transit referendum: Do you support 0.5 percent increase to PST?

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      Here's the question you've been waiting for.

      Subject to a decision by the TransLink mayors' council, the upcoming transit referendum will ask voters if they support a 0.5 percentage point hike to the provincial sales tax.

      The wording of the ballot question:

      Do you support a one half percentage point (0.5%) increase to the Provincial Sales Tax in Metro Vancouver, dedicated to the Mayors' Transportation and Transit Plan, with independent audits and public reporting?

      Where would the cash go? Not just transit.

      The mayors' council says the proceeds would fund:

      • Millennium Line extension, tunneled along Broadway.
      • Light rail in Surrey.
      • 11 new B-Line bus routes.
      • New Pattullo Bridge.
      • More buses on crowded routes and new routes in growing areas.
      • Service increases on SkyTrain, Canada Line, SeaBus, and West Coast Express.
      • Road maintenance and upgrades.
      • Safety improvements for cyclists and pedestrians.

      Comments

      25 Comments

      SmallBusinessOwner

      Dec 11, 2014 at 11:12am

      Is this even legal? What authority gives an unelected group like this the ability to raise a provincial sales tax in a regional capacity? Just keep piling it on and you'll be seeing a mass exodus of business and shoppers to outside the Metro boundaries. I'm thinking the Dunce Cap Award is in order.

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      Erin

      Dec 11, 2014 at 11:31am

      These hardworking officials that you just elected last month have done a great job of figuring out how to keep our region moving as 1 million more people join us and we all need to get around.
      This plan will improve quality of life and affordability for nearly everyone, in car, on bus, foot, bike, train. Without it, we'll all be in gridlock. Transportation is fundamental to our economy and to all our livelihoods.
      Important maintenance and improvements will be made to transit and other systems in each area of the region.
      I fully support this plan.

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      cathy

      Dec 11, 2014 at 12:11pm

      Just one question-how are they going to increase service on the Canada Line?
      The stations were only {stupidly} designed for two cars and the line runs at max. capacity during peak times/rush hours now and it is packed.
      There are huge developments by the Marine Dr. station and thousands of housing units planned for Oakridge.
      This means thousands more on the Canada Line.
      So what are they going to do?
      Dig it up and start all over again?

      Maybe they need to bring back those buses eliminated when the Canada Line opened? That would ease off some of the pressure on the Line and express bus service could be restored to communities south of the Fraser.

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      Alex T

      Dec 11, 2014 at 12:11pm

      I wish the province hadn't fought the mayors so hard and refused so many other sources of revenue. Given the options the mayors had, I think a small sales tax sounds like a very reasonable option. It will benefit everyone in the region - by making transit, walking & cycling more attractive the roads will be clearer. And the fewer single occupant cars on the road, the more life we get out of the infrastructure, saving everyone money.

      If this isn't pushed by all levels of government and if it doesn't pass with a resounding majority, by forcing this misguided referendum Clarke will have screwed us all.

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      ursa minor

      Dec 11, 2014 at 12:17pm

      Yes, it is legal. The authority would be the Provincial Government - they created TransLink and they passed enabling legislation to allow for the referendum.

      There won't be a mass exodus of shoppers. There wasn't an mass exodus when the HST was imposed to make most consumer items more expensive, and the only other major retail destinations are in Washington State,which will be more expensive as oil prices fall and take the Canadian Dollar with it.

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      StopTheMadness

      Dec 11, 2014 at 12:35pm

      Here we go again... Tax policy by referendum. It worked so well last time, let’s do it again. There was no chance that this referendum was going to make any sense at all, regardless of what question they would come up. The very notion of putting tax policy to a referendum is asinine. Just watch – how much money and time will we waste, and Joe Six-Pack will of course vote No to a tax increase. And then our genius leaders will pretend to be surprised. And then what? This is exhausting...
      And whose idea is this anyway? Why is the TransLink mayors' council working on Provincial tax policy? Isn’t that the Provincial government’s job?

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      Steve

      Dec 11, 2014 at 12:49pm

      Investing in transit and transportation infrastructure is essential to accommodate growth over the next 30 years. A million more people, 600,000 more jobs. Those people have to get around, have to be able to work. There's no more room to build roads, let alone parking if the million new people own cars at current rates and some 700,000 new vehicles clog the roads and bridges. The province, all the munis in Metro, business owners, homeowners, everyone should support this investment.
      Half-percent sales tax seems a reasonable compromise among the limited funding options.

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      RealityCheck

      Dec 11, 2014 at 12:52pm

      Abbotsford will build a megamall in no time.

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      Reality

      Dec 11, 2014 at 1:11pm

      The big picture needs consideration before any referendum.

      I am for EFFICENT increases in Translink NOT WASTE!

      Translink has little to no accountability in practice.

      Translink pisses away $100's of millions in wasted projects.

      - $171 + Million in useless Fare Gates + about $10+ million a year to operate to capture less than $4 Million in so called fare evaders,

      - about $25+ Million for a private Police force that would be better utilised to fight real crime as part of established Police departments,

      - Million in executive and board compensation wasted,

      - $500K to $1 Million paid per bus strict bidding competition open globaly would reduce that by 50% ++

      - useless projects like Hydrogen Buses $90 Million wasted.

      Therefore until Translink becomes really efficient and stops all waste no additional monies should be given to it.

      In comparison Washington state pays a fraction of what we do to move far more people in it's Transit and Ferry system.

      Including 50% to 80% less on Executive Compensation.

      Giving additional monies to Translink under the current structure is like giving a Crack addict more Crack.

      So until efficency and accountability comes into place I'm voting FUCK NO!

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      ursa minor

      Dec 11, 2014 at 1:22pm

      Tax policy by referendum failed last time because Gordon Campbell promised in 2009 that if the BC Liberals were re-elected there would be no introduction of a Harmonized Sales Tax.

      In this case Christy Clark did promise a TransLink referendum during the 2013 campaign - it's the BC government taking an arms length approach to tax policy.

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