As predicted yesterday:
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.
It seems Langley City Mayor and the rest of the regional mayors are going to take the cowards way out, by raising everyones municipal taxes to build the Tri_Cities Millennium Line. Instead of questioning the need to build, yet again, another hugely expensive metro line on a route that doesn’t have the ridership to justify the investment, regional mayor should look at cheaper options. Instead of saying “NO” to TransLink and their dated and cumbersome metro planning, they are going again to attack the taxpayer to fund political and bureaucratic metro dreams.
Next week, Rail for the Valley will be releasing a document that shows that we can build ‘rail‘ transit cheaper, far cheaper than the planning mandarins, in their ivory towers, on Kingsway can plan for. Here is an example: for the cost of the $1.4 billion plus Evergreen Line, we can build 140 km. of TramTrain in the region plus a Vancouver to Maple Ridge TramTrain service!
Does Mayor Fassbender want a political reaction like the HST, by raising taxes for a transit mega project that in the past has failed to induce a modal shift from car to transit? Are regional mayors so insensitive to the effects of another tax hike to build something that can be achieved for a fraction of its price.
It is time regional mayors hire an independent transportation consultant to give an alternative opinion for transit solutions in the region than what the well heeled bureaucrats at TransLink want forced on the public. Rail For The Valley certainly can suggest one!
Mayors consider raising taxes to pay for TransLink
Funds needed to build Evergreen LineBy KELLY SINOSKI, Vancouver Sun – September 15, 2010
Metro Vancouver mayors will likely consider a separate financial supplement to pay for TransLink’s $400-million share of the Evergreen Line by the end of the year.
Peter Fassbender, chairman of the mayors’ council on regional transportation, said Wednesday the mayors hope to fund their commitment for the rapid transit line, or the provincial government will come up with another way to make them pay for it.
A funding supplement would have to be approved by regional mayors, and could involve raising fuel or property taxes to bring in extra money for TransLink. The province has already said the Evergreen Line, the region’s top priority, will be built to connect Coquitlam to Vancouver via Port Moody. The provincial and federal governments have committed their share of the project.
“We have a window of time to either come up with our commitment or the government will have to do something else,” Fassbender said. “[A financial supplement] is the only way we can come up with our share. What it looks like I don’t know yet because it hasn’t been developed.”
Fassbender will meet Premier Gordon Campbell and Transportation Minister Shirley Bond next week to examine long-term issues of TransLink’s financial woes.
He said he can’t “pre-suppose” what decisions will be made at the meeting but hopes “we’ll be moving forward in a positive way.
“The purpose is to talk about working together to deal with sustainable funding and issues in transportation. It’s not going to be easy.”
A report this week by transportation commissioner Martin Crilly suggested TransLink is still struggling to pay for transit services and will have to look at other methods if it’s to meet the ambitious goals in its 2040 plan.
“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 capacity,” he said in the report. “TransLink has yet to solve the conundrum of funding for capacity expansion, and cannot do so alone.”
Crilly said Wednesday TransLink will have to move in the direction of a “user-pay” system to continue to build transit infrastructure and operate it. Road pricing is just one example, he said, to get more people out of single vehicles and using transit or carpooling.
“That really is a more efficient use of space,” he said. “But in order to increase capacity it’s going to mean people will end up spending less on private travel and more on collective travel.”
Tags: Abbotsford, Broadway streetcar, BRT, C-train, Chilliwack, commuter rail, cost per km, demonstration project, Diesel LRT, economic stimulus, Evergreen Line, Fraser River rail bridge, Fraser Valley, highway 1, Karlsruhe, Langley, light rail, LRT, Monorail, passenger rail, Rail for the Valley, streetcars, study, track-sharing, tramtrain, transit, Translink, UBC SkyTrain, Vancouver