Gregor Robertson: New funding needed to forestall decline of transit system

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      Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson sent out today (July 3) the following message to subscribers of his office's email list, in response to the results of the transit referendum:

      Yesterday, Elections BC announced that Metro Vancouver residents voted 62% against a proposal to raise the sales tax to pay for new transit.

      The results are disappointing, but I respect the decision of voters and thank all of those who participated – especially the unprecedented coalition that came together for #YesForTransit.

      There was a clear message from voters across the region that they value transit and recognize the urgent need to invest in service improvements, but they lack confidence in TransLink and its capacity to manage the necessary funds. This is clearly an issue that the BC Government will need to address – and quickly.

      Metro Vancouver is set to grow by over a million people in the next 25 years, and these results change nothing about the urgent need for major new investments in transit and transportation.

      With people of all walks of life relying  on transit every day, we can’t forget the human element in the public conversation around transit. This isn’t just about taxes or fees. For many people, public transit is the only way they can take their kids to daycare, go to school, or get to work – they don’t have the luxury of being able to choose to drive.

      It was unfortunate that the Provincial Government forced a referendum on transit, while other vital services like hospitals, highways and tunnels are appropriately able to secure predictable funding.

      But what’s done is done. We need to stay focused on the big picture – and that means improving the transportation system for everyone. When it comes to Vancouver, I am committed to ensuring the Broadway Subway is built. As North America’s busiest bus corridor, Broadway is in urgent need of more efficient public transportation, and I will continue to work with the Province and the Federal government to ensure we get the job done.

      Make no mistake though: unless the Province enables new funding to support investments in transit, the entire regional transportation network will decline. The Mayors have repeatedly come together to put solutions forward, only to have the Province turn us down, or force the whole region into to a referendum. That’s where we are today, and without new funding, TransLink will be forced to make some difficult decisions.

      We’ve got more work ahead of us, but I’m committed to pushing for better transit - not just for Vancouver, but for the entire region.

      Thanks for all of your support,

      Gregor Robertson



      Chris Green

      Jul 3, 2015 at 4:01pm

      How about maybe biting the bullet and funding the municipal contribution with the one funding source you control: Property taxes? Or will Bob Rennie throw a fit if you do that?

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      Just sayin'

      Jul 3, 2015 at 4:01pm

      This steaming pile of pass the buck BS perfectly illustrates why the people voted no.

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      Jul 3, 2015 at 4:58pm

      Increase property taxes, maybe a sliding scale increasing with property value. And please spare us the sob stories and crocodile tears for the unwashed masses servicing to resort town you made.

      After all Gregor, you already rang in the new year with a property tax increase to fund your own pay raise.

      Nice timing too: taxes due today.

      Michael Callen

      Jul 3, 2015 at 5:11pm

      "When it comes to Vancouver, I am committed to ensuring the Broadway Subway is built."

      Then make Surrey, Coquitlam, and Burnaby but out their share of:
      Port Mann Bridge
      Golden Ears Bridge
      Highway 1 Gateway expansion
      Millennium Line
      Douglas College Skytrain

      and build the Broadway subway asap. Vancouver the city and Vancouver the region cannot abide being held hostage by a self-destructive minority

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      truth stranger than fiction

      Jul 3, 2015 at 6:07pm

      Gregor, if you truly believe that transit is going to solve road congestion, I have some hot Bre-X shares collecting dust in the attic. Make me an offer.

      It’s time to put to bed the notion that transit, especially by TransLink, is effective in the reduction of road congestion and air pollution or carbon emissions. It unequivocally is not.

      Singling out and taxing drivers to pay for transit by fascist transit fanatics imposing their perceived superior mode of transportation (transit) on others is morally wrong. Gas taxes and other discriminatory taxes targeting drivers are in fact unconstitutional and taxing drivers under the pretext that transit somehow reduces road congestion is tantamount to fraud.

      There are much better ways to reduce road congestion than transit: smart traffic lights reducing traffic congestion by up to 25%, for instance. Flying vehicles hold more promise of mitigating road congestion than transit. Road pricing and any other plans to tax drivers for transit are nothing but scams to fill the pockets of crooks using transit to become rich.

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      Jul 3, 2015 at 6:32pm

      Maybe spearheading the HST referendum wasn't best idea for Gregor and his cronies. You got what you asked for.

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      Jul 3, 2015 at 6:39pm

      Mayor Gillespie-Robertson's regime recently informed us they made $100 million dollars last year from their developer friends: a record!!! Take that plus the $100 million Translink found in "efficiencies" and add an additional levy for developers then you have some transit cash. The only reason the region is growing by "1 million" in (a variable length of time depending upon which yes shill is threatening us) is thanks to polices that favour developers like Gillespie-Robertson pursued by Mayors like Gillespie-Robertson.

      The whining from the losing side is pathetic but par for the course. They are the folks who don't understand why giving drug addicts and gamblers money is a bad idea. They are too willing to accept incompetence because someone somewhere convinced them that excellence or even competence isn't possible from public bureaucracies. Translink spends too much on management and other expenses that don't move people or goods and somewhere around 38% of you are offended by such a concept.

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      Trent Hurley

      Jul 3, 2015 at 7:34pm

      Dear Gregor,
      Your "commitment" to a cause means nothing. Your track record on commitment to causes is abysmal. You're gutless and controlled by developers. You're in way over your head. For the sake of Vancouver, please do the right thing and go back to making juice.

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      Jul 4, 2015 at 12:49am

      The mayor of Surrey has announced her intention to go ahead with a light transit system for her urban area. Surrey Light Urban Transit will deliver services in the finest tradition of the area. "Go to Surrey and ride the SLUT" is catchy and here are myriad alternatives.


      Jul 4, 2015 at 4:25am

      Then transit issue aside, those million people they're expecting to move here have to arrive with 3 University degrees in hand, be willing to work for minimum wage and pay maximum dollar for living arrangements. Maybe poor little geographically challenged Vancouver isn't going to be the city of choice for everyone. Maybe Vancouver shouldn't be the city of choice for everyone. It's full. Stop telling everyone to move here. Shut the damn door.