It might have been a campaign pledge from Premier Christy Clark and her BC Liberals in the last election but it looks like the government is more than happy to let Metro Vancouver mayors do the heavy lifting on the transit funding referendum.
Transportation Minister Todd Stone welcomes the news the mayors are close to tabling a mandated ten year transit vision by his June 30th deadline.
As for details of the promised Translink referendum Stone says that is not his problem.
“Well it will be up to the mayors to determine when the vote is. In fact the legislation passed in the legislature just a couple weeks ago. The mayors can select a date that is either concurrent with the upcoming municipal election or a date at any point before June 30th 2015. It is completely up to the mayors.”
When asked when he would like to see the vote Stone said “This isn’t my plan. The mayors have said to the province consistently that they would like the province to enable new funding sources to expand transit and transportation. We have consistently said before the last election that if there are to be new funding sources then there will be the requirement for a referendum. We have passed new legislation to make that law. The trigger for this is the mayors asking for a new funding source.”
Stone is also shaking off criticism from the mayor of Burnaby over changes to Translink governance and the pending transit referendum.
While Derek Corrigan says the governance changes equate to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, Todd Stone disagrees.
“Mr. Corrigan is absolutely entitled to his opinion. I absolutely disagree with him obviously. I look forward to the day when something positive may come out of Mr. Corrigan’s mouth on anything. Most of the mayors that are sitting at that table with him have been very positive and encouraging about the changes moving forward.”
Metro mayors are putting the finishing touches on a ten year transit plan, which should include a list of transit projects, how they will be funded, when they will be built, and the different avenues to raise transit funding.