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Archive for October 12th, 2010

More on Translink funding

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Jeff Nagel keeps plugging away at the Translink funding issue. Now he is talking to Lucy – erm – make that Shirley Bond

The premier last month agreed to wide-ranging talks to find innovative new ways to finance TransLink.

The mayors now say they’re taken by surprise that only property tax increases are proposed to cover the Evergreen Line.

Bond, however, accuses the mayors of playing politics on the issue, adding she “finds it hard to believe” they genuinely misunderstood the province’s intent and thought a full consultation on new sources could happen before Christmas.

“Once again the mayors are positioning themselves in a very combative way and that’s disappointing,” Bond said.

She said it was made “very clear to the mayors” that a TransLink funding supplement for the Evergreen Line would be before them for a vote by December using existing sources and that a search for new ways to fund more priority projects would be a longer process.

“I am absolutely happy to have a discussion about additional tools,” she said. “But we can’t do that in a thoughtful way before December.”

Why not? Because of the fear that the feds will take their contribution to the Evergreen Line off the table if no agreement is reached before then. That is not what Bond says – or Nagel in this piece. But otherwise the notion that “everything is on the table” – except the Evergreen Line apparently – only starts after the new year was not – so far as I can recall made clear anywhere in the province’s statements.

Pitt Meadows Mayor Don MacLean … said the province could still save money on the Evergreen Line by switching the project back to cheaper light rail technology, rather than SkyTrain.

Well they could but they won’t. Though the “business case” that Jarvis cites seems a bit less than clear to me. But what he really means is that it is not open to debate – and once again that is because the feds bought in, and might use that sort of scope change as an excuse to back out. The Tories in Ottawa like buying military hardware and new prisons: they are not really that keen on something as mundane as decent urban transit.

UPDATE  Wednesday  October 13

Mayors push for gas tax, not property tax to pay for Metro Vancouver transit projects

Vancouver Sun

Written by Stephen Rees

October 12, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Posted in transit