Wednesday, June 10, 2009

TransLink and Money

This very in-depth article appeared in the Surrey Leader about TransLink and the Provincial government titled "Victoria blocks path to improved TransLink: CEO"
The provincial government is the main obstacle to Metro Vancouver getting the transit system it needs for a livable future, TransLink CEO Tom Prendergast says.

The head of the region's transportation authority says that while opinion remains split on exactly how to raise the money, a broad consensus is emerging that an aggressive expansion is needed, costing an extra $450 million a year in new revenue.
Prendergast says area mayors, business groups and virtually everyone else he's talked to back him on that point.

"There is one party still at the table I think that is in doubt as to whether $450 million is necessary. And that partner is the provincial government," he told civic leaders at a recent forum.
Adding my two cents worth, TransLink paid $63.4 milllion in debt servicing last year and has over $1.7 billion of debt. I’ve been told that most of that cost has to do with SkyTrain. So that begs the questions, is SkyTrain killing TransLink?


Robert W. White said...

In related news, Kevin Falcon is now Minister of Health.... Shirley Bond is the new Minister of Transportation, so hopefully Victoria will be a little more helpful from here on in

Light Rail Guy said...

Nathan, it is old news that SkyTrain is killing TransLink and yet, we build more.

In 1993 the GVRD put the cost of SkyTrain's annual subsidy at $157 million. In 2002, the late Des Turner, in conversation with the GVRD, found that the annual subsidy was over $200 million with the opening of the Millennium Line.

This subsidy is paid by the province and is hidden in the general accounting of the province.

The $63.7 million in debt servicing mentioned in your blog is probably for other charges attributed to the SkyTrain light-metro system, including refurbishments, new cars, and constant computer upgrades.

So when one asks the province for more money for TransLink, the province is already paying $200 million annually in subsidies for SkyTrain.