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Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for October 7th, 2010

That Lucy Moment

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Gordon Price predicted it last week – but I doubt even he expected it this quickly.

Jeff Nagel is reporting that

municipal reps were told Thursday property taxes are the only source that will be on the table when a vote on an [transit] expansion comes in December.

Not just transit either – they are also expected to cough property tax to pay for the North Fraser Perimeter Road!

An average $600,000 home that now pays $220 a year in property tax to TransLink would pay an extra $31 a year to raise $412 million towards the $1.4-billion Evergreen Line and another $53.2 million for the phase one of the North Fraser Perimeter Road, which would extend United Boulevard.

I am a bit unclear on where the “reps” (whoever they are) might have heard this and who from. But it seems that MoU was – in the premier’s mind anyway – not about everything being on the table right now but in future negotiations about the UBCM promise of SkyTrain to Langley.

So once again, the Mayors have been suckered. Lucy always says when she holds the football for Charlie Brown to kick – usually when the NFL season is about to open – that she will not whip it away as she does every year. This year will be different. So Charlie Brown takes a run kicks – and she whips the ball away and he falls over spectacularly. Which is what has happened now with Translink funding once again. So now we do the head count on the Mayor’s Council and see who really thinks the province will impose a solution if they don’t vote for this one – which, presumably, might be even worse

Meggs said there’s also frustration the province has forced TransLink to embark on costly projects, such as a $180-million smart cards and faregates that many cities doubt will ever pay for itself through reduced fare evasion.

Several mayors say the province has signaled it will impose a solution on Metro cities if they don’t voluntarily vote to provide funding for the Evergreen Line.

I had to put the top para in there as well, since I know I have been saying this ever since it was imposed by Kevin Falcon – I had not heard anyone at Translink admit that yet.

UPDATE  here is Translink’s summary of the options courtesy of a tweet from Ken Hardie

I apologise to Jeff Nagel for an incorrect atrribution which is now sorted out. It would appear that all of this became apparent to the Mayors when they were briefed by Translink staff. Which means to me that the provincial politicians are even more gutless than I thought and that Translink is now clearly a provincial and not a regional agency. Basically the arrangements we have now have even less local input than the old Vancouver Regional Transit Commission – but a similarly uncomfortable relationship that the creation of the GVTA was supposed to correct.

Written by Stephen Rees

October 7, 2010 at 12:41 pm