VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Metro Vancouver mayors are giving the provincial government until February 28, 2013 to come up with a plan for a funding model to help TransLink.
The mayors are also nixing any cuts planned for bus and SkyTrain, and want no property tax increases.
“If we can get it solved by the end of February, TransLink has to do its budget by March and we can get on with the next steps with our Transit system in the spring,” says Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.
Mayors continue to be frustrated that they’re required to find funding for TransLink projects, yet are are not part of TransLink planning.
“Governance is at the core of the challenges here. The mayors don’t have the ability to make decisions on the priorities. We end up being asked to approve a budget and in this case it’s not acceptable to keep asking property taxpayers to keep pitching in,” Robertson says.
They also agreed that any operating gaps for TransLink would be closed by using reserve funds until more long term funding is in place.
Transportation minister surprised by level of frustration
Transportation Minister Mary Polak is wondering why the mayors are so frustrated, given the communication she has had with them over the past week.
“I’m a bit puzzled, because earlier this week I had already responded to their two significant requests: one being new funding, and the other being their desire to have a more meaningful role in signing off for transit plans for the future,” she says.
“I had already met with their chair and their vice chair of the Mayors Council. They received a letter from me asking for a meeting to begin the discussions right away and to expedite that. So we’re already underway with the things they are wanting to see.”
She says she does want a discussion about the mayors gaining a bigger say in how TransLink spends its money.