Letters to the Editor

TransLink road pricing would add to subsidy

The Editor,

The real reason for the newest flavour of taxation policies — road pricing, or tolls — to further fund a decrepit regional transit authority can be laid squarely at the feet of both the SkyTrain light metro and the BC Liberal government’s pilfering of gas/carbon tax money for general revenue.

Despite the hype and hoopla about SkyTrain, the proprietary light-metro is just too expensive to build and operate, as evidenced by the Canada Line, which is not SkyTrain at all but a cheaper, off-the-shelf knock-off. SkyTrain was too expensive for the Canada Line.

In the 1993 joint Greater Vancouver Regional District/Ministry of Transportation report “The Cost of Transporting People in the BC Lower Mainland,” it was revealed that the annual provincial subsidy for SkyTrain was $157.6 million; the combined subsidy for the diesel and trolley buses was just $132.4 million. With the addition of the Millennium Line, this subsidy increased to more than $200 million and, with the Canada line, this annual subsidy has now surpassed $300 million.

It becomes easier to see why there is no extra money for TransLink because TransLink is already quietly getting a big chunk of transit cash from the province.

The Evergreen Line will only add to this annual subsidy, further exacerbating problems with TransLink’s dubious finances.

When the Gordon Campbell Liberals gained office, they instantly reduced taxes and greatly increased user fees and levies. To maintain revenue, the BC Liberals diverted gas tax and carbon tax into general revenue to balance the books. Tax money earmarked for regional transportation just disappeared into the black hole of general revenue.

Road pricing is all about keeping the status-quo with the bloated bureaucrats at TransLink, who like alcoholics refusing to accept that they are addicted booze, are addicted to dated and transit planning and continue to squander huge sums of tax money on SkyTrain.

Road pricing is all about weak politicians merely being told what to do by their bureaucrat masters.

Road pricing is all about once again screwing the taxpayer to pay for bureaucratic and political hubris.

Malcolm Johnston, Delta

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