Thursday, June 16, 2016

Major announcement this morning: paying for phase 1 of the regional transportation vision

This morning there will be an announcement around funding for TransLink and the Mayors’ Council Regional Transportation Vision. The federal government has now committed to paying for 50% of the capital costs of transit projects, and the province has held the line on only committing to 33% of the capital costs of transportation projects. The mayors have tried to get the province to increase their commitment to 40%, but they have been as successful as someone trying to get blood from a rock. This leaves 17% which needs to be funded at the regional level.

Of course, you also need to pay for the on-going operating costs of transportation systems as well. The following chart from the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation shows the breakdown of transportation projects, capital funding commitments, and total lifecycle costs included in their transportation vision.

Breakdown of major components of transportation plan, and where funding for each component is coming from. Source: Fair Share Funding for 10-Year Transit & Transportation Plan.

At the end of the day, the regional will be paying for 48% of the total lifecycle costs, the federal government 30%, and the provincial government 22%. Considering that transit is funded at between 40% and 50% throughout the rest of BC by the provincial government, it seems like Metro Vancouver residences are getting a bum deal.

Regardless, the mayors have pitched the following as the regional funding component:

  • Sale of surplus TransLink property
  • One-time 2% transit fare increase in 2018, over and above regular fare increases
  • Adjust existing 3% cap on TransLink property tax
  • Regional Development Cost Charge for TransLink
  • A new $50 million per year, provincially-controller resource source that is only applied within Metro Vancouver
  • Implement mobility pricing by 2021.

With today’s announcement, it will be interesting to see if a deal has been reached on what way revenue will be extracted from the region.

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