EDITORIAL: Little hope for useful TransLink reform
TransLink’s board doesn’t need more directors drinking from the same bath water. It needs whistle-blowers and critics, transit users and truckers to put some reality into the way Lower Mainland road and transit infrastructure are funded.
Adding directors from the Mayor’s Council to the TransLink board is no more than tokenism and the provincial government needs to do two things:
• One, acknowledge that it is calling the shots and stop pretending that TransLink, with its limited funding options, is any more than a cringing lap dog — not to mention a convenient scapegoat (sort of like school boards).
• Two, open up TransLink board meetings to the public.
What taxpayers need to see is more open debate on the how’s and why’s of TransLink decision-making — such as how it can justify the now rejected 12.5% fare increase and why bureaucrats need hefty bonuses for doing their jobs.
It may seem harsh to pick on TransLink but the funding stalemate between the mayors’ council and the board is a sign of trouble. Martin Crilly, the TransLink commissioner, has already said the authority lags behind other cities in productivity; and the province and the mayors hope an audit can find a hidden source of cash.
Could some of these problems be fixed with an improved funding model and a new system of open governance? No doubt.
Instead, the province gives us an easy fix with little hope of succeeding.
Further, there’s legitimate concern that once representatives from the mayors’ council begin attending meetings — earning $60,000 a year for their efforts — they’ll stop representing the taxpayers and start swilling the grey water, making excuses instead of holding the authority accountable.
For that much money, TransLink could find numerous people with intimate knowledge of Metro Vancouver’s transportation troubles who could enliven those TransLink board meetings and provide some balance.
We have zero confidence that will happen just as we have zero confidence co-opting a couple of Metro Vancouver mayors will help the Lower Mainland’s long-suffering commuters.