Transit funding referendum details a mystery to regional mayors

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      The chair of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation is clueless about what next year’s referendum on transit funding will look like.

      Richard Walton of the District of North Vancouver and council vice-chair Wayne Wright of New Westminster recently met B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone.

      Except for Stone affirming that a Lower Mainland referendum will happen—as promised by Premier Christy Clark in the last provincial election—“nothing of any tremendous substance” came out of the meeting, Walton said.

      “The critical issue is who’s going to be out there pounding the turf, engaging the public,” Walton told the Straight by phone.

      He noted that it won’t be the mayors’ council, because it didn’t ask for the referendum. And Walton doubts that it will be TransLink, because of expected criticisms that the regional transportation body is concerned only about its corporate interests.

      The mayor also has no idea what question will be asked in the referendum, or how much the vote will cost.

      In a document released last July titled Regional Transportation Strategy, TransLink presented a $23-billion capital plan covering the next three decades. The total includes a “currently unfunded cost” of $5 billion to maintain the system and existing service levels for 30 years. The balance of $18 billion represents “additional cost” for projects identified by TransLink and its partners.

      Jordan Bateman, B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, explained what it means when operating costs are combined with TransLink’s capital requirements.

      “You’d have to double every tax, every toll, every penny that TransLink collects right now in order for pay for it all,” Bateman told the Straight by phone. “Absolutely, I think the public deserves a say in that.”




      Aug 14, 2013 at 2:26pm

      I get the feeling it will become more economical to drive your own vehicle. Sure glad I have a bicycle. Very timely that the city of Vancouver is getting 1500 common bikes.
      Unless of course the corporate mentality is replaced by a Public Transportation system funded by taxes.


      Aug 14, 2013 at 4:56pm

      why the hell is a bus company in charge of the road system anyways ?
      If you can't keep a simple time schedule together, why would ANYONE trust you with millions of dollars? Oh wait, That would be the complete morons in Victoria

      Mark Bowen

      Aug 14, 2013 at 5:53pm

      I'm not sure why the Canadian Taxpayers Federation is always interviewed for these sorts of things.

      There is no depth or critical analysis to any of their positions. It's always the exact same "beep boop taxes are bad, privatize everything, public sector workers are scum, beep boop."

      Alan Layton

      Aug 15, 2013 at 11:45am

      Mark Brown I agree totally about Jordan Bateman. He only criticizes and has zero solutions. I saw too that him and his wife perform sci-fi based weddings (he's licensed to marry) in their spare time so he lives in a dream world.


      Aug 15, 2013 at 12:32pm

      Ahh yes BC Politics! New Car Dealers Assc., BC Trucker's Assc., BC Roadbuilders Assc., BC Bridge Builders Assc., Developers of BC, etc. all supporters of our BC Liberals.

      So now its payback time and that means more roads & bridges to support their supporters and more SkyTrain with unmovable stations and limited capacity for more than twice the price of perfectly adequate buses.

      The conservative BC Liberal agenda is simple; more taxes and fees for us 99% so they have more to share with their 1% supporters.


      Aug 17, 2013 at 2:20pm

      To Gord:
      "why the hell is a bus company in charge of the road system anyways?". I suspect that the sleazy Provincial politicians did that in order to download the cost of maintaining and re-building these structures (normally a provincial responsibility) to local municipalities /taxpayers.