This summer, I posted a series of blog posts call “The Story of TransLink”. The series investigated the history of how the BC Liberals ended up downloading the responsibility to fund transit from the province to local government. In the series, I posted graphs which showed how the province has underfund transit in Metro Vancouver, and how the rest of BC receives a higher level of provincial support for transit funding.
At the last Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation meeting, Mike Buda who is Interim Executive Director of the Mayors’ Council, presented on “Closing the Funding and Accountability Gaps”.
In his presentation, he came to the same conclusion that I did: the province's share of funding for transit in Metro Vancouver has dropped over the last decade, while funding for transit in the rest of the province has remained higher.
|Comparing transit subsidies in Metro Vancouver to Victoria and the rest of the province. Select chart to enlarge.|
One of the excuses used by the province when questioned about their underfunding of transit in the region is to say that other regions pay Hospital Tax. The province says that because there is no Hospital Tax in Metro Vancouver, property tax should be higher. As you can see in the following slide, Metro Vancouver taxpayers are tied with the Capital Regional District (Victoria) in paying the highest property taxes per capita in the province.
|Per capita hospital tax and transit property taxes paid in Metro Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, Kamloops, and the rest of the province. Select chart to enlarge.|
Metro Vancouver has the highest per capita amount of local taxes funding transit in the province.
|Per capita total local taxes paid for transit in Metro Vancouver, Victoria, Kelowna, Kamloops, and the rest of the province. Select chart to enlarge.|
While the province may claim that there is room to jack up property tax to pay for transit in Metro Vancouver, this is simply not true. If more taxpayers in Metro Vancouver knew about the bum deal for transit they are getting from the province, they would be demanding that the provincial government pay its fair share for transit services in Metro Vancouver.