Friday, July 8, 2011

Paying for TransLink - Gas Tax

As you are probably aware, TransLink's Mayors Council and the province have come to an understanding on how to pay for the Evergreen Line and future transit improvements. The resulting 2 cent per litre increase will cost the average drive $2 extra per fill. While many people understand that public services cost money, I’m still amazed at the people that want better public transit, hospitals, schools, and roads but don’t understand that these things cost money. Of course perennially whiner Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan was up in arms about paying for transit because his city already has two SkyTrain lines and good bus service. I guess he forgot that the region paid for his city’s transit system. According to the South Delta Leader, Burnaby, White Rock, North Vancouver City, Anmore and Lions Bay did not suppose paying for building the Everygreen Line. It’s a good thing that the other 16 mayors are team players.
Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender, who helped broker the initial understanding with the province as mayors council chair last year, said the additional improvements are important.

"This is not just about the Evergreen Line," he said. "It also has significant other benefits to the rest of the reigon and especially south of the Fraser."

A King George Boulevard express bus, a new Langley-White Rock route, RapidBus service on Highway 1, more frequent SeaBus service and generally enhanced transit service are some of the add-ons.

"I would not have supported just the gas tax for the Evergreen Line," Fassbender said.
Gas tax is not a good long-term solution to pay for transit, but at least now we can get the 20-year delayed Evergreen Line underway and allow the region to find a long-term funding solutions for transportation. I would expect that a long-term funding solution will be something that will be talked about after the municipal elections this year.

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