Wednesday, October 6, 2010

TransLink Municipal Update

On Thursday, October 7th TransLink will be meeting with municipal leaders to review the potential 2011 funding supplement to help pay for the Evergreen Line and other provincially mandated projects. I received a backgrounder that was sent out to local councils on October 1st. This supplement is only the first step as there is still on going discussions about long-term funding for the agency.

The backgrounder presents a list of project that could be funded in the supplement and presents an "A" list and a "B" list. While the document talks about a special 50/50 analytical method used to priorities projects, it basically is weighted 50% for Transport 2040 priorities and 50% for projects that have federal and provincial dollars behind them. This is how the Evergreen Line and North Fraser Perimeter Road Phase 1 (United Boulevard Extension) jump the cue and become the two "A" list items. Other items like the King George Boulevard B-Line Service which scored the highest on the Transport 2040 priorities got bumped to the "B" list.

B List Priorities Include:
-Main Street Station Upgrades
-Metrotown Station Upgrades
-King George Boulevard B-Line Service
-Guilford to White Rock via Surrey Central (104th & King George Blvd)
-Bus Service Hours to Meet Minimum Guidelines
-Restore funding to Bike Capital
-Surrey Central Station Upgrades
-Restore funding to MRN Minor Capital
-Highway 1 Bus Rapid Transit Project
-New Westminster Station Upgrades
-Lonsdale Quay Upgrades
-Bus Service Hours to Accommodate Population Growth
-Bus Service Hours and Infrastructure on U-Pass Routes
-White Rock to Langley Bus Service

As property tax is the only way to pay for these project at the moment, TransLink has costed the "A" list to increase the average homeowner's tax bill by 9 cents a day or $31 a year. Adding the "B" list will bring the total tax bill to 15 cents a day or $54 a year (less then a cup of coffee!)

If the mayor council only approves the "A" package, I think that the some 650,000 (30% of the region's population) people that live in the South of Fraser may think that once again we are paying for "Vancouver's" transit.

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