Monday, December 8, 2014

Province underfunding transit in BC

Over the last several years, the provincial government has put up roadblock after roadblock as Metro Vancouver local governments try to find a way to fund critically needed transit expansion in the region. The latest roadblock came mid-last week when Minister of Transportation Todd Stone said that the province “won't contribute as much money as Metro Vancouver mayors want” to fund transit expansion. He even said that the proposed taxes or vehicle levy, which would raise about $300 million per year, was too rich for the province's liking.

The provincial government has consistently said that it believes local government should jack up property tax to pay for transit. Local governments in Metro Vancouver have said no.

One of the things that I find ironic is that the BC Liberals are supposed to be party of “free enterprise”, working towards lowering the cost of doing business in BC. By advocating for transit to be paid for with property tax, they are actually advocating for placing more burden on businesses to fund transit. Business property tax is already high in many parts of Metro Vancouver.

The Canadian Urban Transit Association prepared a series of infographics about transit ridership and funding in Canada. I thought I would share the infographics from Canada’s most populated provinces.

CUTA 2012 Ridership & Fund Infographic for Alberta. Select image to enlarge.

CUTA 2012 Ridership & Fund Infographic for British Columbia. Select image to enlarge.

CUTA 2012 Ridership & Fund Infographic for Quebec. Select image to enlarge.

CUTA 2012 Ridership & Fund Infographic for Ontario. Select image to enlarge.

In BC, the provincial government has generally contributed about 1/3rd of the cost for capital transit projects. In Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec, provincial governments contribute about 2/3rds. These arrangements have been in place for over a decade.

The BC provincial government is actually getting a great deal because it has downloaded 1/3rd of the cost of funding transit capital projects to local governments. I’m not sure why the provincial government is crying foul at local mayors who are expecting the province to pay its fair share which the province agreed to in the 2008 Provincial Transit Plan.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree Transit in BC is underfunded, but it would be pretty easy for someone to claim the 2012 year was cherry picked to show that about BC (imagine pre 2009 (Canada Line) or post Evergreen line...still bad, but not nearly as bad....some sort of multi year average would probably be best.