Metro Mayors lash out at Transportation Minister

Vancouver, BC, Canada / News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver's News. Vancouver's Talk

After being handed yet another deadline by BC’s Transportation minister in the Translink funding referendum saga, Metro mayors have fired back.

In a letter mayors demand Todd Stone clarify exactly which funding sources meet his government’s “virtually impossible” standard.

That standard? The funding source can’t impact families, the economy, or provincial revenues.

Mayors call the standard “puzzling” noting any new funding source would not meet the government’s own standard.

The mayors also reject delaying capital projects to expand transit in Surrey and Vancouver saying doing nothing will definitely impact families, the economy, and provincial revenues.

Mayors accuse the province of abrogating its responsibilities in regional transit and transportation with the referendum idea.

The letter demands legislative changes to give mayors control of Translink’s operating budget.

They also want a two part referendum question on a ballot to go before voters in March of 2015.

The question would ask if voters would support, or not, the 10 year transit vision and then one or more specific funding sources.

Mayors want to hear the Transportation minister’s response by July 29th.

Earlier this week Todd Stone said the mayors transit vision he mandated they complete was unacceptable due to the request to use carbon tax revenue to fund transit.

Stone then gave the mayors until July 15th to select a date for the Translink funding referendum.

As for a response from Transportation minister Todd Stone his office sent this out moments ago.


· The minister and Mayor Walton have been speaking regularly.

· The Mayors’ Council has suggested March 2015 as a preferred timeframe for the referendum.

· Government will work with the Mayors’ Council to finalize the date by July 15.




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  1. What exactly does Minister Stone do all day.
    Translink looks after the major projects and congested areas, the rest of the province is easy.
    We could train a chimp to do his job.

  2. well it looks like the transportation minister has his own agenda for transit. he just won’t tell anybody what it is. living out here on the south side of the river we don’t get very much for our money what we put in. it is time to spend more on the south side. toll all the main bridges, tunnel, [ because there's going to be a new crossing] patella bridge and the sea to sea highway.

  3. Obviously, the Lower Mainland Mayors just do not get it! There is, at this time, no money in either the Federal or Provincial government budgets to pay for the largess they demand. While Countries, governments at most levels across the world are trying to control spending and increase economies, these twits in the Regional and Local governments spend like crazy horses, dream up massive and expensive plans and have zero concept to understand, that at this time such just is not affordable. At the same time a good number of these trinket based Mayors ‘oppose’ the economic recovery of the Province.

    Minister Stone is absolutely correct in his response.

    • You must be the Minister to defend this no show on his part. he should be the one making the decisions,not having the mayors make the rough calls and be blamed at the polls. Gutless and shameful to defend this minister. I bet the pay is good.

  4. Funding transportation from where?? There is only ONE taxpayer!
    We are increasing density on an unhealthy level, under the pressure of greedy developers and municipal planners.
    Our option for the taxpayer is to decide between pest or cholera! …We are already on the hook!!!

  5. Mayors talk about spending an other $7.6 billion dollars. Every transit spending usually ended up DOUBLE the estimated cost if not more.

    Mayors are not talking about how much transit charged to taxpayers for Canada Line, Evergreen Line, Golden Ears and Port Mann Bridges and other projects including the up coming Massey Tunnel replacement.

    For how many billions of dollars are we already in DEBT that is still unpaid before more debts are put on the taxpayers’ back?

  6. There may be a way to increase funding for transportation that would satisfy the egos of all involved.

    First the municipalities should change the formula used on the portion of property taxes going to transportation. Residences and businesses situated within 1 km. of a Skytrain station should pay double the basic rate now charged. Residences and businesses situated outside this area but within 1 km. of a bus stop should pay a 50% surcharge on the basic rate now charged. Those residences and businesses that don’t fall within either boundary would pay the basic rate. This would be easy to implement and shouldn’t require another layer of bureaucracy that most other options seem to create. Before the naysayers get their knickers in a knot, I live 2 houses away from a bus stop and would incur the 50% surcharge.

    Secondly transit users that use Skytrain should pay more than those that only use buses. The quicker the mode of transit, the costlier, which is no different if one chooses to travel by airplane or bus when traveling from point A to point B. It would also help if those using transit actually paid for the privilege.

    • You seem to be forgetting it’s not just about busses and skytrains. Will your plan also further surcharge those living 3 blocks from a new or existing bridge or highway too? It sounds like a logistical nightmare.

    • That is pretty short-sighted.

      A better formula is to charge the same amount to cross the river, regardless of the crossing at the same rate the mass transit system is. (eg 5$/crossing), that way the costs go directly back into improving the transportation route. This however would never fly because that would result in all goods in Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster and Richmond costing twice as much as outside it. Roads are subsidized more than mass transit is, and please try to remember that the roads and bridges aren’t free.

      A fairer form of funding requires intervention at the provincial level, either to apply a transit tax at the Drivers License level or at the Vehicle energy-use level (aka engine size), so that those who use mass Transit are only paying for the transportation they use based on their registered address and mode of transport. We should not be encouraging people to live in Surrey and drive into Downtown Vancouver. People who drive, should be living less than 10 minutes away from where they work, not these foolish one hour rushhour gridlock commutes. This won’t happen because the support services (eg fast food workers and gas station attendants) can’t afford to live in Vancouver, they need to live with their parents just to afford to live in the lower mainland. And you’re suggesting making mass transit more expensive? Hope you like your 20$ cups of coffee if that ever happens.

      The farther one lives from transit, the higher their cost should be, because we don’t want the kind of urban sprawl Surrey encourages to be everywhere. Surrey only wants transit now because they can’t attract more developers to build skyscrapers without it. But they are picking the worst form of it (LRT) that won’t get people out of cars. It’s not in Translink’s best interest to build inefficient transport networks and then also have to fund them. Translink may as well keep using the Articulated RapidBus until cooler heads prevail and Skytrain gets extended to Langley and Newton. Build it now, it will have capacity for the next 50 years.

    • What mess? This disagreement regarding how the mayors would have you pay for a transit plan? Just think of the mess when a big new shiny tax bill comes to your door because no one was watching out for taxpayers.

      • As Ron noted mayors don’t pay, property owners and tenters pay.

        According to some stats during last ten to twelve years the 22 municipalities of GVRD increased Spending fromthe yearly around $1 billion to around $3 billion, over SEVENTY percent. WHERE did all them billions tax dollars gone?

  7. Obviously the Liberals know what method the want to use to tax us even more. They are using the Mayors as pawns and forcing them into a corner so that they have only one choice – The Liberal government choice.

    They just do not what to tell the mayors but rather “lead” them to this choice and make it “their” decision.

    And when this entire transit funding, cop-out referendum is concluded and the Liberals simply force an new tax down our throats, they will point their fingers at the mayors and take NO responsibility for it.

    It is the Liberal way – Lie, Deceive, Deny – That should be their new political slogan.