Consultation underway on transit plan

Tri-Cities to get new services but property taxes, fares will have to be increased

Tri-City residents can now have their say on TransLink’s latest plan to expand transit service.

Public meetings and an online questionnaire are opportunities for public input on the plan, which, if approved, would be paid for with funds from an increase in TransLink property taxes and fares as well as the creation of a new development cost charge.

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For the Tri-Cities, the transit enhancements would include:

• a new seven-day-a-week bus service to Burke Mountain;

• integration of bus service to the Evergreen Extension;

• four new secure bike parkades;

• a new B-Line service along Hastings Street;

• a new B-Line express service on Lougheed Highway connecting Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to Coquitlam Central Station;

• and five new West Coast Express cars.

In Anmore and Belcarra, the frequency of the C26 bus would be increased to every 30 minutes during weekday middays from the current 60-minute frequency.

Other benefits would include more frequent SkyTrain, buses and SeaBuses early in 2017, and an advancement of the design of new rapid transit lines in Surrey and along the Broadway corridor in Vancouver.

Ensuring the plan is paid for would mean hikes in property taxes and fares, as well as development cost charges.

For example, the owner of an average home assessed at $678,000 would pay $190 next year in dedicated property taxes to TransLink — an increase of $3 over and above the automatic annual increase for TransLink of about $2 — and that would increase a further $3 a year thereafter. For a $1-million property, that translates to $285 in TransLink property tax in 2017, with $4 annual increases.

Meanwhile, the owner of an average business property assessed at $2.6 million would pay $3,021 next year and see the TransLink property tax rise a further $45 each year.

The proposed fare increases would require riders who now pay $2.10 for one zone of travel with stored value on a Compass card to pay $2.20 in 2017 and $2.40 by 2019. One-zone monthly passes would climb from $91 to $98 over the same period.

Details of the planned development cost charge are still to be determined but TransLink has suggested it would aim to raise up to $20 million a year by charging $700 to $2,000 extra on new housing units and $0.50 per square foot on new commercial buildings.

Metro Vancouver mayors will vote on the plan in November.

For more information or to participate, visit Oct. 31 is the deadline to comment.

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