Some describe it as a “Congestion Tax,” some as a “Transit Tax,” and others as a “Translink Tax.”
Any way you call it, it would mean a large chunk of money going to things that, in theory, would reduce road congestion and/or improve public transit.
Allegedly. And questions abound.
Question: If the Province doesn’t support public transit – and there’s a strong argument to be made – then will this referendum really change much? If it passes can we be confident that the senior levels of government will actually come up with the matching funds to make things happen?
Question: If enough people vote for this referendum, will the Province finally do something to fix the insane thing that is Translink? Will they finally allow the mayors to actually call the shots on transit?
Question: If the province won’t relinquish control of public transit, can we have any faith that the money collected by a new tax will go towards transit improvements, or should we expect it to wind up being used for yet more auto infrastructure?
Question: do our local MLAs support the “Yes” side, or the “No” side? As far as I know only Thornthwaite has come out and actually said that she’ll vote yes.
Question: What was the thinking behind the Province’s unilateral changes to the question drafted by the Mayors, and what does this tell us about what might happen if there’s a “Yes” vote? If the Province feels free to meddle in the question being asked, about money that will cost them nothing, why should we think they won’t continue to meddle in Translink’s affairs?
Question: What guarantee is there that the funds raised won’t be moved away from new services into refurbishing the thirty year old Skytrain system, or the four year old Compass system, or into some other money hole?
And finally, the elephant in the room: what happens of there’s a “No” vote? It would be immensely valuable if the Province would tell us that.
My reading is that the Province doesn’t give a sweet damn about public transit – they’ve got their helicopters and limos, so why would they care?
If the referendum gets a “Yes” vote Christy Clark will declare it a victory for her and her party.
If the referendum gets a “No” vote she’ll blame Translink and the Mayors.
Ultimately this referendum is not about funding transit, or even new bridges. It’s about the province once again trying deflect criticism of their botched, expensive, and largely failed efforts at managing Lower Mainland transit via their Translink proxy.