Yes, we should tax for transit
A regional sales tax for transit is a great idea; it is sustainable and is a popular idea for funding transit investment. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and many other North American cities have already introduced them for this purpose; many more are planning for it.
The current recession has affected every city and every transit agency; Toronto and Montreal cut transit service extensively, and Portland nixed free LRT in its downtown core. In the midst of this, TransLink has largely maintained its region-wide service hour commitment. We should be proud of TransLink’s competence to support the options we still have in place that help us access more jobs and job opportunities.
As the new Japanese government has been leading by example in recent months, we must invest aggressively – especially in public services – to spur demand, get economic growth on track, and provide better quality of life.
We should all support a regional sales tax. Let’s make a show of it: let’s write letters, sign petitions, and spread the word. Let’s not be down there with other cities now facing transportation and economic turmoil because the solutions weren’t in place.
A transportation crisis will be staring us in the face if we do not act on this investment opportunity. When it’s in place, let’s use the revenue to build and support a better transit system for our benefit today, and our children’s benefit tomorrow. After all, the future lives here.
Daryl Dela Cruz, Surrey