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

FACT CHECK: “No” to Transit side is misleading voters with mythical math

with 5 comments

A Mayors’ Council press release

A “Yes” to Transit vote would cost average households $125 a year


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                         February 6, 2015

Vancouver, BC – The “No” side’s baseless claims, mythical math and random calculations demonstrates they are not producing facts to back their arguments. In this latest claim, they have no idea how households really spend their money and how the PST is applied to goods and services.

The Mayors’ 10-year plan to improve transit and transportation as the region grows by one million more people will cost the average household $125 a year. That’s about 35 cents a day. The mayors’ calculation considers how much money households make and how much they spend on PST-eligible items. They also looked at how much of the tax would be paid by households, businesses and visitors, to come up with a realistic cost for an average household.

In fact, households making less than $100,000 per year – about 70% of Metro Vancouver’s households – will pay between $53 and $116 per year for more buses, better roads and more transit options.

Our Plan “No” to Transit
·         Classified six income categories.

·         Used Statistics Canada Survey of Household Spending by income to:

  • generate a reliable picture of PST-eligible spending by income category
  • understand the impact of a 0.5% increase in sales tax by category
Household Income Average annual cost of 0.5% increase in sales tax % of Households
<$25,000 $53 8%
$25,000-50,000 $70 21%
$50,000-75,000 $100 22%
$75,000-100,000 $116 19%
$100,000-150,000 $166 18%
>$150,000 $266 12%

Determined the annual cost per average household

  • Multiply annual cost per average household by the % of households in that income category
Divided $250 million (total funding required) by 967,948 (total number of households).
=  $125 per household = $258 per household

The “No” to transit side wants us to do nothing. This will cost the region untold millions in economic costs as traffic gets worse, and mean you are stuck in traffic and on transit longer.

The Mayors’ Council will continue to share information and updates on activities at

Written by Stephen Rees

February 6, 2015 at 10:59 am

5 Responses

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  1. If you take, the Mayors’ council number, the tax will generate only $120M not the $250M they previously touted!

    Apparently the Mayor’s council expect the other $130M will be generated out of thin air at no cost to any people: If that was true, why even bother to impose taxes on households ?

    Obviously the reality is a bit more complex, and there is no free lunch:


    February 6, 2015 at 11:20 am

  2. I always love it’s just X dollars per day argument…It’s only 35 cents per day…Oh, it’s only 1.5 cents per hour…does that sound better? How about property taxes, they are going up JUST 3% every year…Also, the CPP premiums, BC healthcare premiums, EI, garbage collections, water, power they are JUST a few dollars more then last year…Oh real estate? it’s JUST up 5-7% per year…Or you know, just 50-70K more then last year…Care to add those up?

    How about we turn these arguments around…If we vote “no” you know what will happen? Nothing…The world will still exist…You know how we know that? Because when the transit went on strike NOTHING happened…Or to put it in terms “urbanologists” and “traffic experts” love and can relate to – It’s JUST going to be a few more minutes per day of driving. And what do you guys LOOOVE to say when you reduce road surface? Traffic adjusts? Guess what is going to happen to traffic and transit? They will adjust…


    February 8, 2015 at 9:40 pm

  3. There is, of course, a really easy way to solve the problem. We just get the 0.001% to start paying tax on the $25 trillion they have squirrelled away

    And in case you think I am joking – this link is to an article about a completely serious proposal to deal with the problem in the US

    Stephen Rees

    February 10, 2015 at 12:38 pm

  4. Nathan Pachal has also been running the numbers for some of the municipalities South of the Fraser

    Stephen Rees

    February 10, 2015 at 9:07 pm

  5. Billy, according to the 2009-13 5-year average reported by ICBC there was an average of 170,000 crashes on the Lower Mainland (2/3 of all of BC) of which 37,000 on average involved casualties (52% of the provincial total). Each and every one of them depended on public resources, from minor ICBC processing costs to multiple-call emergency services, long-term rehsbilitation and extensive litigation. The personal costs are often unfathomable.

    The above values don’t even begin to address the cost to the public of building, maintaining and providing a valuation of depreciation on a massive amount of car infrastrucuture, from the vast acreage roads sit on to pushing expensive utilties ever outward to highly-subsidized low density communities. These costs have no return, unlike the significant amount of development now oriented to rapid transit. The outlying peripheral car-based subdivisions are paying about $10,000 less per household than the public costs of servicing them.

    Don’t you think it’s time to try to lower these stats (which range from annoying to tragic and so-big-it’s-invisible) that are directly attributable to the car culture we have built our cities around? What better way than to foster transit-oriented neighbourhoods and, eventually, entire cities? This is why some Yes posters say better transit is akin to a better future.

    You cavalierly joke about incremental changes in the numbers, insinuating they are meaningless. But when you start in the stratosphere meaning has a new definition, and there is only one way to go: down.


    February 11, 2015 at 8:55 pm

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