VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – TransLink needs more money than what they are going to get from the proposed gas tax. Two cents a litre is expected to raise 40 million dollars a year.
Transportation Economist Stephen Rees says that should be enough to fund the Evergreen Line but “the mayors have been very pointed that they don’t just want the Evergreen Line; they want a whole lot of transit improvements as well.”
More buses, expanded SeaBus service, station improvements and more.
TransLink’s ‘Moving Forward‘ plan, which includes Evergreen, needs 70 million a year in funding. Rees says vehicle levies and property tax hikes remain options for raising that money.
The transportation minister says people in Metro Vancouver will be consulted before decisions are made on where the money is going to come from.
Political considerations behind proposed gas tax
No surprise, raising property taxes to pay for the transit route might not sit well with voters.
SFU marketing analyst Lindsay Meredith says a gas take increase is a deep well to tap. But what raising transit fares? “The bottom line is, if you’re trying to play the green card, and this provincial government, as well as [Metro Vancouver] mayors have been trying to do this big-time, look, you don’t want to be seen as driving people off transit by raising the price of transit. You want to be seen as, ‘Gee, we’re after that nasty fossil fue stuff.’”
Meredith says property taxes are limited, but a gas tax is not. “Because that’s going to hit the entire [Metro Vancouver]. That’s going to go all the way out to Abbotsford or so. There’s a lot of money to be made in gas taxation.”
Meredith adds it’s relatively easy to hide a gas tax.