Friday, October 2, 2009

Politics of transit can get messy

Mathew Claxton wrote an interesting opinion piece in today’s Langley Advance. He pointed out the inequality in transit service between the North Fraser communities (Vancouver, Burnaby, New West, Tri-Cities) and the South Fraser. He also noted that much of the problem lies with the fact that North Fraser people have no idea about the transportation issues facing the South Fraser and how we are developing. There’s this notion that we are evil suburban dwellers or country bumpkins. These facts are compounded with the fact that most of the political clout is still in the North Fraser communities. It all spell continued poor transit for the South Fraser.
So Vancouver/Burnaby/New West politicians have no incentive to share transit cash, and politicians south of the river are caught between the contradictory impulses to grab as much as they can, and to put a stake in TransLink's black heart.
Mathew made a great suggestion that we have a directly elected board that is not based on municipal boundaries. I would suggest going one step further and have a system like Metro Portland. People in Metro Portland vote for regional councillors based on geography, not population. It’s not perfect, but it might help balance things out. Of course another issue that needs to be solved is how the province delivers transportation infrastructure and its funding in Metro Vancouver.

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