Mayors, Premier and Transportation Minister to meet next week – The Blind Leading the Blind

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Talk about the blind leading the blind.

BC Transportation Minister, Shirley Bond (who knows little or nothing about transit), the besieged premier (who knows that building glitzy metro lines buys votes), and regional mayors (who are equally unread on transit) are going to have a private meeting regarding TransLink’s ongoing financial crisis. The first hing that must be done is to invite the public, simply because the public is public transit’s customers and politicians should value their input.  Secondly, TransLink and the Premier must understand that TransLink’s perennial financial malaise is due mainly to the SkyTrain light-metro system and our perverse penchant to build very expensive to build and operate light-metro lines instead of modern light rail!

To date the taxpayer has unknowingly spent over $8 billion for our metro system, yet for less than one  half the cost, by building with modern LRT we could have had almost double the route mileage – more trams, serving more destinations providing more incentive for people to use transit! Now there is a clever thought!

Added to TransLink’s woes, is the singular fact that the SkyTrain light-metro system has failed to attract the motorist from the car and it is just far too expensive to extend in lighter populated areas and has not proven to be a credible transit alternative for the car. The current hype and hoopla about the Canada Line is merely self serving window dressing to sell the public on building more metro, but in real terms, for about $2.8 billion costs to date, the new metro has attracted only about 4,000 to 5,000 new riders (which is about normal for a new ‘rail’ line) and the new riders are mainly the elderly going to the River Rock Casino or Asian shops in Richmond most using discounted concession fares  and students using $1.00 a day U-Passes! The RAV/Canada line has yet to show that it has attracted the motorist from the car.

Yes, the airport is also garnering new ridership, but do not forget the 15 minute service Airporter bus the Canada Line metro replaced.

TransLink is in a conundrum; there is no money for new metro expansion and the bureaucracy refuses to plan for much cheaper light rail. There is no way out, either taxes must increase to pay for metro construction or the transit system stagnates and becomes even more unattractive product for customers.

Next week, Rail for the Valley will present an affordable alternative to TransLink’s present grandiose metro and subway plans, the problem is: Will the premier, Ms. Bond and regional mayors listen!

In BC Rubber on Asphalt Rules!

Mayors, Premier and Transportation Minister to meet next week

By Frank Luba, The Province – September 14, 2010 4:02 PM
A closed-door meeting between Metro Vancouver mayors, Premier Gordon Campbell and Transportation Minister Shirley Bond next week is expected to go a long way toward settling TransLink’s financial woes.

Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender, chairman of the Metro mayors’ council on transportation, can’t presume to say exactly what will come out of the meeting.

But he and TransLink CEO Ian Jarvis will both speak at the Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce luncheon that follows the meeting. Cambell and Bond will also be in attendance.

When asked if there will finally be some news about TransLink’s long-standing cash crunch, Fassbender replied: “We will at least be demonstrating where we need to go and how we’re going to get there together.

“My hope is that Thursday will be a major step forward in finding the answer specifically to the question people have of ‘How are you going to do this?’” said Fassbender

“They’re not easy answers,” he said. “There isn’t a quick fix here.”

The situation has come to a crossroads.

“We’re either going to move ahead or it’s clear we can’t work together,” said Fassbender. “But you know what? I believe we can.”

The problem of TransLink funding was highlighted again Monday night when transportation commissioner Martin Crilly gave his seal of approval to the transportation authority’s 2011 plans.

Crilly pointed out that TransLink doesn’t have the money to do what its own long-range plans to 2040 call for or what the region needs according to Metro Vancouver.

“To gain ground on the background growth of the region, a greater portion of the region’s wealth will need somehow to be devoted to providing that [transportation] capacity,” said Crilly in a release.

“TransLink has yet to solve the conundrum of funding for capacity expansion, and cannot do so alone,” said Crilly.

Read more: http://www.theprovince.com/news/Mayors+Premier+Transportation+Minister+meet+next+week/3524841/story.html#ixzz0zYIYqWw5

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5 Responses to “Mayors, Premier and Transportation Minister to meet next week – The Blind Leading the Blind”

  1. bulleid 35028 Says:

    Makes one wonder if the BC politicos & the TransLink numpties who post inane comments on the blog Zweis, are ever moved by the transport developments in the US & Europe that are reported?
    Probably unlikely, considering the bunker mentality that appears to be prevalent amongst the `chattering classes’ in Metro Vancouver & the Lower Mainland 🙂

    Zweisystem replies: The Eastern Canadians refer to BC, particularly Vancouver, as Lotus Land, due to the local feeling that we are indeed the centre of the universe. The ‘chattering classes’ who seldom, if ever, use public transit think SkyTrain is just grand because they don’t care if schools or hospitals close to fund new metro construction as their children go to private school and they go to private medical clinics for their minor ills and chills.

    Vancouver residents and Vancouver politicians are just peachy-keen that the suckers (I mean taxpayers) living South of the Fraser are paying for Vancouver’s (read George Puil’s & former Vancouver mayor, Gordon Campbell) grandiose metro plans.

  2. Joe G Says:

    Yes, we must be wary of any backroom deals involving Gordon Campbell! I don’t know enough about Shirley Bond.

    Regarding regional Mayors – I disagree with you Zwei. It depends on who you’re talking about. Obviously they will not have top transportation expertise, but I think some are relatively well-versed and many are on our side.

    (The problem usually comes to ‘who is educating them?’)

    The South of Fraser mayors Watts and Green seem to be solidly on our side, but one needs to be very wary of ‘so-called compromises’, ‘political solutions’ that may seem to benefit each city but are no solution at all for our region.

    Campbell is going to try to play the cities off against each other once again and use Evergreen funding, and Broadway vs SoF funding as the bargaining chips, to impose HIS type of transit, and the taxes needed to pay for it, on the region.

    The mayors must not fall for this -they must stand firm!

    Zweisystem replies: I tend to agree, but it seems Green is being given the chop, which leaves Watts alone.

  3. David Says:

    SkyTrain is adored by the motoring public because it stays out of the way of their cars/trucks/SUVs and also because the lack of modal shift requires more road building. None of Gateway road projects would have been necessary if we’d put SkyTrain dollars into more cost effective transit solutions.

  4. bulleid 35028 Says:

    Exactly David, I’m hearing the expression `End the war on motorists’ from both sides of the Atlantic:-
    Rob Ford – Toronto’s mayoral candidate and Phil Hammond Transport Secretary in the British coalition Government.
    read the following from British right-wing newspapers
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/7959266/City-councils-wage-a-new-war-on-motorists.html

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1278161/Labours-13-year-war-motorist-pledges-new-Transport-Secretary.html
    and from the Toronto Sun
    http://www.torontosun.com/news/torontoandgta/2010/09/08/15278281.html
    see any similarities?
    Two politicians; one trying to hold on to power and the other trying to get into power
    Until the average US, Canadian or UK male citizen comes to terms with the fact that his automobile was not intended to be an extension of his male organ and learns to walk, cycle or take public transport for that 1 to 2 mile journey to the office, store, theatre, restaurant, bar etc our streets will be clogged with cars. I do see hopeful signs though, more & more high school, college & university kids are desisting the car and voting with their feet. We now need to educate the 30+’s

  5. David Says:

    For some people the pressure to appear successful is so strong that they’re willing to go to extremes. I’ve been told by friends of a particular Asian culture that the pressure can be intense enough to drive young people into crime. Others work two jobs and sink deep into debt in order to afford the best clothes, newest gadgets and flashiest car.

    As a society we idolize the rich and famous and our media pushes unsustainable consumption 24/7. Unless and until that changes I don’t expect road building to slow down.

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