The announcement from the province this morning saying it will match the federal government’s 40 per cent funding to the 10-year transit plan has raised the question if Metro Vancouver municipalities will commit to the final 20 per cent?
Chair of the Metro Vancouver Regional District Greg Moore says the message he took from the province was a willingness to work with the councils on that.
Moore says he doesn’t want to see property taxes raised but says there are options they would like to be able to pursue.
“Having every new unit or house built in this region there’s a charge, that growth somewhat pays for the growth of the system. So we’ve already put that part forward. The provincial government has already had the discussion about land lifts, so the increased value of land around SkyTrain and rail stations. Mobility pricing is also an avenue to look at.”
Meanwhile the CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade Anita Huberman tells CKNW raising property taxes isn’t an ideal first option, but would support it if they had to.
“It’s still on the table, it might be the only solution, but it’s not our first choice.”
She says a growing city like Surrey needs all 27-kilometres of transit.
Meanwhile the Canadian Taxpayers federation says municipalities don’t need to raise taxes for residents to pay for local government’s share of transit funding.
Spokesperson Jordan Bateman believes there is more than enough room available so road pricing doesn’t need to be an option.
“The truth is, today’s announcement coupled with Trudeau’s last week kills any need for a new tax for TransLink.”
Bateman says using road pricing to foot their end of the transit bill might not be the best idea.
“This is the agency that could not deliver Compass cards or fare gates on time or on budget. It took them seven years to bring that system in. Think how much more complicated road pricing is and ask yourself, does TransLink, do the Metro Vancouver mayors have the expertise to deliver that? No. Of course not. They don’t. They’ve proven they don’t. So they need to get off of this fairy tale.”
With files from Kyle Benning