3 vaguely cheerful thoughts on Metro Vancouver’s transit vote

Slide from 2010 planning presentation (South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority)

Slide from 2010 planning presentation (South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority)

Elections BC advised us on July 2 that Metro Vancouver residents have rejected a 10-year transit plan, which was to have been funded from a sales tax hike. The political gridlock around transit funding, already 17 years old, will continue.

It’s sad for most of us that Western Canada’s largest urban area can’t figure out how to run a bus service. Most of us — because a minority, I’m guessing 15 per cent, would prefer to see public transit privatized or abolished. Continue reading

The mayors’ case for a transportation tax

 

Replacement of the 1937 Pattulo Bridge over the Fraser River is part of the Metro Vancouver mayors' long-term plan. The photo is taken from the plan document.

Replacement of the 1937 Pattulo Bridge over the Fraser River is part of the Metro Vancouver mayors’ long-term plan. The photo is taken from the plan document.

Vicki and I attended a luncheon last week to hear from advocates for a Metro Vancouver transportation tax. The tax proposal will be the subject a ballot going out to households in March.

In 2014, regional transit mayors issued a long-term plan for upgrades to rapid transit, bus transit, regional roads and HandiDart service. The British Columbia government responded that any proposal for new fees or taxes to support the plan must be tested in a referendum. (The parties use the term “plebiscite”, but the difference seems academic.) Continue reading

The Metro transit referendum and the mayors

LRT car of the future, from the City of Surrey website

LRT car of the future, from the City of Surrey website

Over the past month, we’ve seen intense political bickering and positioning around public transit in Metro Vancouver.

Events are moving quickly, and I hesitate to offer conclusions — except to suggest that the struggle between the B.C. Government and local mayors threatens to overshadow the question of how to build a better transit system. Continue reading