As P.T. Barnum observed, "There is a sucker born every minute." And with the regional mayors goose-stepping in unison with TransLink's demand for more money, it seems we are governed by suckers.
TransLink's gambit was to scare regional mayors with dire predictions of transit chaos if new sources of taxpayers' money stopped flowing to the ivory towers on Kingsway, and it seems TransLink's predictions of transit Armageddon worked.
What has been not tackled is why TransLink is short on cash. The answer is simple, yet the powers that be just do not want to hear it: It is SkyTrain.
SkyTrain is a proprietary light-metro system and the taxpayer is paying three to four times more to build with it instead with modern light rail. Put another way, for every 1 km of SkyTrain built, we could have built 3 to 4 km of light-rail transit (LRT).
The following example clearly illustrates the problem:
Portland, Oregon, for an investment of $3 billion, has 85 km of LRT operating on four lines, with 85 stations. Portland also has two streetcar lines.
Metro Vancouver, for an investment of more than $8 billion, has 69 km of SkyTrain and Canada Line light-metro (the Canada Line is not compatible with SkyTrain in operation), with 47 stations.
Thus, for almost one third the investment, Portland has a larger urban rail network, with more stations servicing more destinations.
For the anti-LRT crowd, modern LRT today can carry more passengers than SkyTrain and faster, if it is designed to, yet it can be built very cheaply if need be.
TransLink has bamboozled regional mayors with its SkyTrain nonsense for so long that it believes it and the result is ever higher taxes to fund hugely expensive mini-metro projects that again demand even more taxpayers' money, which, in turn, again increases taxes and so on and so on.
Want to curb TransLink's tax and spend appetite? Stop building with SkyTrain and plan for LRT instead.
Malcolm Johnston, Delta