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Mary Polak wants a list of transit priorities

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Not many of you like the idea of paying more sales tax to fund transit improvements, and it seems BC’s Transportation Minister is right there with you.

In a letter to Mary Polak this week, Metro Vancouver mayors outlined five funding options, the most provocative of which is a 0.5 per cent hike to the provincial sales tax that would generate an estimated $250 million a year.

While she applauds the mayors for making progress, she feels they need to do a better job of explaining to taxpayers why the money is needed and where it would be used.

She adds the best way to do that is to outline regional priorities.

“So, for example they speak of some of the broader visioning around [the] Broadway Corridor, SkyTrain expansion in Surrey… well, we need to get down to consensus around which one would go first,” explains Polak.

The options include bringing back the vehicle registration fee, a regional carbon tax, land value capture around SkyTrain stations, and road pricing.

“It’s very difficult to evaluate any of those options, unless you’ve got some greater specificity around the type of things [the mayors] are attempting to fund in the short term, so whether the priority is in order and then also, what would the amounts be,” she continues.

The Minister is expected to meet with North Vancouver District Mayor Richard Walton, the head of the Mayors Council, next week.

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Phil Parsons

I like the .05% regional sales tax idea best. I could really live with that, if that’s all it took. I think that’s the most palatable of all the five ideas put forth. It’s really unfair to continue to make car users pay for everything. I see this as a way to make the Vancouver/Burnaby/Coquitlam/Richmond/North Van/West Van citizen pay their share for transit as well. These communities are the best transit served communities, and those that would pay less than the average no transit option commuter. Let’s get fair here, and all get on the same price page. It only makes sense. Listen up Translink & Government.

February 06, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Translink needs to get its own house in order first, before asking for any more money from BC taxpayers. These unelected officials with their bloated paycheques and exorbitant raises, when everyone else is scraping by, couldn’t manage their way out of a wet paper bag!

Clean up ALL inefficiencies and waste within Translink, lower your own wages and eliminate the top heavy management structure. I want to know exactly how much gets spent on what. I want accountability from elected officials when money is wasted on poodle art, etc.

We need to be able to elect and remove Translink’s management if we don’t like the job they’re doing. Then you’ll see efficiency. Then they can have more money. First we need to see responsibility. We’re not seeing that now.

February 06, 2013 at 5:50 pm