Take Transit Campaign to Province – From the Aldergrove Star

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The following is a letter from VALTAC, published in many Fraser Valley newspapers and I believe sums up what the majority of residents think. Regional mayors should think twice before supporting any more TransLink inspired taxes, until the TransLink behemoth itself, cleans house.

CARTOON---SUBSIDY---Car-vs_-Transit-712328

Editor:

Re: TransLink Workshop Consultation Process, June 1-2.

Kicked off with a May 27 editorial in the Vancouver Sun by TransLink CEO Tom Prendergast and accompanied by a barrage of print, radio and TV advertising, the TransLink Community Consultation Workshops Showboat made eight stops in the GVRD.

Reports on attendance vary from 15-30 people per event, totaling less turnout than we had for the Mufford Crescent Overpass Open House hosted by the Township at Milner Community Hall on January 31 this year. Why such an abominable turnout despite the major advertising campaign promoting the event, depicting the upcoming challenges and begging for input?

We firmly believe the citizens of the GVRD are very concerned as to how we intend to cope with the 1 million-plus émigrés anticipated over the next 20 years. However, the citizenry simply declined to attend because they are resigned to the fact that in the long run TransLink will do as it pleases and taxpayers will be turned upside down and the required funds to subsidize TransLink will be shaken from their clenched fists. The only question remains in which manner and how painfully will the funds be extracted.

We don’t believe the boardgame used to delineate the options as tabled truly reflected the costs of the various levels of service. We would love to know what it cost for the media advertising blitz, board game development/production, etc. Was this the best use of funds considering the response from the public at large or must it be written off as the cost of the consultative process?

Joe and Mary 6-Pak can only be girding their loins for the inevitable shelling out of $800 per family of four in after-tax dollars, in perpetuity. The best they can hope for is it may possibly arrange for a bus to come closer to their front door with more frequent service or light rail will finally come to the South of the Fraser.

South of the Fraser, and in the Langleys specifically, we are third class citizens compared to North of the Fraser. We will reluctantly contribute the same dollars per capita, endure most of the population growth and continue to receive the least service. Unfortunately, plans I have seen for the future promise little more and guarantee nothing.

We want nothing but the best for South of the Fraser and only ask we somewhat receive in the proportion to what we will give. We await to see where the consultative process now takes us.

VALTAC will conclude by thanking the hundreds of citizens who stopped by our booth at the Langley Canada Day Celebrations. The interest and enthusiasm of the younger crowd (aged 16-23) who do not want to purchase a car and wish to avail themselves of light rail as a transportation alternate was overwhelming and encouraging. The 53-foot-long “mobile sign” has been a truly effective outreach vehicle and was instantly tied to our booth display.

With BC Hydro committed to reconfirmation of passenger running rights on the BCER and all Mayors and Councils South of the Fraser supportive of same, we must now elevate our campaign to the provincial government.

Lee Lockwood, VALTAC Chairperson, Aldergrove

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4 Responses to “Take Transit Campaign to Province – From the Aldergrove Star”

  1. Taxpayer Says:

    Langley only got an $800 million bridge that will require tens of millions of dollars of subsidies for years until tolls can cover the costs. Oh and there is the $3.1 billion Port Mann that too will require years of taxpayer subsidies. I suspect that the Valley is getting more than its fare share of transportation dollars. Only problem is that most of it is being wasted on roads.

    Zweisystem replies: It can be said that the Fraser Valley is getting bridges and highways, but they are ‘tolled’ bridges and they are losing a ‘free’ ferry service. The question with ‘rapid’ transit is simple; TransLink and the provincial government insists in building only with very expensive metro systems that are too expensive to be of much use. Sure SkyTrain carries over 200,000 passengers a day, but 80% of those passengers first take a bus to the metro. Apportion the fares between bus and metro and one discovers that the ridership is not enough to sustain the metro, thus more and higher subsidies must be paid to TransLink.

    As I have sated before, it is no surprise that the Evergreen line is in jeopardy, in the real world, no metro or LRT would have been built on such a route. The Evergreen line demonstrates that TransLink is a farce and transit planning is an expensive joke and its time regional politicians put an end to this charade.

  2. Taxpayer Says:

    Sure the bridge is tolled but transit users pay fares. So what. The bottom line is that the tolls on the Golden Ears will not cover the payments that TransLink has to make to the private partner for years. This is one of the reasons that TL is running out of money.

    Conveniently, there is an article in the Sun today on just this.
    http://www.vancouversun.com/Subsidizing+projects+draining+TransLink+funds/1803404/story.html

    By 2011, TL will be paying almost $52 million a year to the private partner. Assuming 30,000 vehicles per day and a toll of $3, LT will be only getting around $33 million in tolls. That amounts to a $19 million subsidy.

    In addition, TL had costs of around $160 million for the bridge in property acquisition and other costs for Golden Ears that are in addition to the payments to the private partner.

    The article does cover the Canada Line as well. I know your opinions on the Canada Line so you don’t need to turn this into a debate on the Canada Line or SkyTrain as you usually do. Just stick to the topic.

    My main point is that Langley is likely getting its fair share of transportation investment. Only problem is that it is being spent on roads, not transit.

    Zweisystem replies: If you think that the Golden Ears Bridge is Langley’s fair share of transit money, you are deluding yourself. To date, Vancouver is the recipient of over $8 billion in three rapid transit lines and many bridges that are untolled. Trying to place the blame of TransLink’s financial problems on the Golden Ears bridge is complete nonsense.

    The BC taxpayer subsidizes SkyTrain by over $200 million annually, a tidy sum not reported in TransLink’s financial accounts. The bus system is subsidizing SkyTrain operations as TransLink does not apportion fares between bus and SkyTrain and treats all fares as general revenue. TransLink’s accounting is so troublesome that they never let the Auditor General look at the books.

    In short TransLink is in a mess and funneling more taxpayers dollars into the TransLink ‘black-hole’ will not solve anything but create an even later larger fiscal disaster for the taxpayer.

  3. Taxpayer Says:

    I never said that the bridge to Langley was the cause of the entire shortfall, however it is a part of it.

    If you actually bothered to do any math before responding, you would have realized that Langley has around a 20th of the population of the region. Given other road investment, the admittedly little transit service it does get, the Golden Ears Bridge ($19 million a year, $160 million up front) and the $3.1 billion Highway 1 expansion, I suspect if you added up all the taxpayer money, you would actually find out that Langley is not getting such a bad deal. And yes, that would be factoring in that Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows benefit as well. I know, this would require research which is much harder than pumping out rhetoric and probably not as fun.

    Zweisystem replies: I love it when you factor out SkyTrain from TransLink’s financial troubles and blame it on Langley and the Golden Ears Bridge, but the main problem with TransLink and it’s financial woes is SkyTrain and the SkyTrain mentality. Why doesn’t TransLink want BC’s Auditor General to audit the books? I’ll give you three guesses and the first two don’t count. (Hint) TransLink and the SkyTrain Lobby do not want to hear the truth.

  4. David Says:

    At this point I think both sides should remember that the point of the Golden Ears Bridge was to encourage traffic between the two sides of the river, areas that were more or less cut off from each other despite their physical proximity and similar development. From that perspective the bridge is going to be a huge success. Despite all the talk here about light rail in Langley, a light rail line over the Golden Ears Bridge makes far less sense than a link between Coquitlam Centre and the Brunette area (Evergreen line or alternative routes for such).

    Downloading (from Federal to Provincial or Provincial to local) is to blame for a lot of our woes. I’ll never understand why TransLink has to find the money to not only maintain, but replace major infrastructure on officially designated Provincial Highways. I questioned TransLink staff at an open house on that issue and didn’t get a satisfactory reply so I think they’re fully aware that they’re being made the fall guy for a series of provincial governments with no guts for the truth.

    Zweisystem replies: Blame George Puil for the TransLink deal that included roads & transit. I don’t think he read the fine print!

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