Letters to the Editor

Regionalize transit funding

A letter writer states that tax collection for transit improvements should be based more on long-term goals, and not on the growth needs of individual municipalities. - Evan Seal / The Leader
A letter writer states that tax collection for transit improvements should be based more on long-term goals, and not on the growth needs of individual municipalities.
— image credit: Evan Seal / The Leader

Recently, Mayor Dianne Watts took the initiative to organize a forum aimed at coming up with ideas for long-term funding options for TransLink.

Organizing talks with consultants and junkets for transit authority representatives from other cities is an idea, but if the solution is “road pricing,” then it falls well short of the objective.

We already have road pricing. It’s called the transit tax on gasoline. To simply come up with a different tax that takes a whole new complex GPS-based system in order to collect the money is crazy. It too, will be dependent on people driving their vehicles.

If TransLink is successful in getting people out of their cars by building a useful system, then they will have the same problem they do now – a funding system that generates diminishing revenues.

I agree with Mayor Watts insisting the funding for transit be shared by all, but she won’t get agreement from mayors Gregor Robertson and Derek Corrigan. They already have well-established transit systems built up over the years and don’t want to pay for a regional transit system.

These issues have been studied enough.

The Mayors Council for TransLink simply doesn’t work. Abolish it, take the politics out of the equation and attack the problem from a regional viewpoint.

The expectation that vehicle drivers should pay the bulk of these funding initiatives is simply unfair. The fact is, all residences will benefit from an efficient road system that include bicycle lanes, sidewalks, and cost-effective public transit.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and cities with effective transit systems have been building them over many decades. The tax collection system is already in place. Add a yearly fee on property tax specific for transit improvements, much like garbage and water fees. That way everybody pays their fair share, even renters, albeit indirectly.

The fee should be used solely for transit improvements and based on a 50-year plan for capital improvements to the system. The plan should be based on the regions growth needs, not individual municipalities. Federal and Provincial governments should also contribute.

But build the system at the rate the funding can support, quit nickel-and-diming with these bizarre funding initiatives.

 

Lyle Roemer, Fleetwood

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