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Archive for August 8th, 2008

TransLink warns of cuts without more cash

with 6 comments

Jeff Nagel  BC Local News

Well that didn’t last long

It was not so long ago that I was writing about a surplus at Translink. But now the new board is back in familiar territory – dire warnings of the need for more cash or service cuts.

“If the consultation process indicates significant resistance to expanded revenue measures, TransLink will begin implementing cost reductions that would impact all program areas, not just transit operations,” it says.

The cuts would be equivalent to a 55 per cent reduction in bus service.

Of course it always has to be bus service that is highlighted. You want to make sure you get the attention of possible supporters, and without doubt every transit proponent will fall in line and start saying that transit here has always been underfunded and we need to pay more for better service. BUT it is also very clear that the recent splurge of spending not only has not done very much to cure overcrowding, or spread service into underserved areas, it has also hardly moved the one key indicator that Translink always tries to ignore. Yes ridership is up – but market share isn’t. Translink has been running hard just to stand still. What none of the current list of projects underway has achieved is get us off the old declining spiral – raising fares to meet rising costs and going for more taxes while failing to get into growth mode.

It is also probably very significant that some of the biggest capital projects are roads – including The Golden Ears Bridge that is supposed to pay for itself but somehow seems to be

“well challenged” completing existing projects like the Golden Ears Bridge

Note also that cancelling road construction projects is apparently not even a possibilty. Including this little goodie

Roberts Bank rail overpasses

Now these are news to me. And actually the Roberts Bank railway line has several of these – all of the main traffic arteries are carried over the line – and the line itself is raised to cross Highway 99. The only level crossings are on accomodation roads – access to farms basically. Can someone explain to me why these are a regional transportation priority? It’s a bit like the way Westham Island Bridge is a regional responsibility when it only carries local traffic within Delta – and that to a dead end. The only explanation that I can come up with is that once again the province is downloading costs that shoudl be borne by its idiot child the Gateway Program.

Yes we need more money for transit. And if the Gateway was cancelled and that spending diverted to transit, there would be no problem. But of course the province maintains the fiction that the Gateway will pay for itself – and the private sector is going to “help” – even though there are to be no tolls on the SFPR.

What you are watching is a variation on the three card trick. This scam is still running successfully in street markets in Montmatre and you would not believe the way the suckers still line up for it.

And do not forget that Kevin Falcon has already announced that he is going to be in charge of the Evergreen Line but somehow that has not been taken out of the Translink budget. Not that it matters, since Translink is now firmly back under provincial control but they cannot even be bothered to conceal the way the cards are being shuffled.

There is, of course, only one tax payer. And you are lining up quietly to be plundered, yet again.

Written by Stephen Rees

August 8, 2008 at 9:54 am

Posted in Gateway, transit