North Vancouver District Mayor Richard Walton has a tough job on his hands as he seeks a funding consensus for TransLink projects and the Evergreen Line.
The new chair of TransLink's mayors' council is in the unenviable position of trying to bring competing visions for transportation - and how to pay for it - together and get Victoria to approve it so work can start on the $1.4-billion project.
Right now, nothing much is happening on Evergreen, which is supposed to open its doors in just three years. There has been some dickering with property owners along the line and the environmental assessment certificate was recently approved but that's about it.
The project has been moving at a snail's pace, so it's easier to imagine George Jetson and his family living in Skypad Apartments in Orbit City and getting around in flying cars than to visualize the Evergreen Line rising in Port Moody and Coquitlam.
The March 31 deadline set by Shirley Bond in December is not far away and Walton has to get the mayors to agree on some combination of vehicle levies (which some businesses prefer), bridge tolls (which drivers dislike but would bring in lots of cash) and carbon taxes (which the government won't give up without a fight). The mayors could raise property taxes and fares but those options aren't very palatable while taxing future property values is a good idea but expensive for developers already required to pay fees for new roads and amenities.
Obviously, Walton has a lot of work to do to get the mayors and the province to agree on future funding and although he told Black Press in January he is confident a deal can be reached, others have failed before him.
Still, he has one ace in the hole - premier designate Christy Clark. She used to be a Port Moody MLA and knows how much rapid transit is needed in the Lower Mainland's northeast sector. With her fresh perspective, perhaps the Evergreen Line could get back on track before George Jetson shows up with his space car with Elroy by his side.
- The Tri-City News