Re. "Mayors set to hike gas tax" (The Tri-City News, Oct. 5).
A letter to Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart:
I beg you to re-think your casting an approving vote for this additional two-cent-a-litre gas tax on the following grounds:
Coquitlam residents have been paying an escalating so-called "eco tax" in order to "encourage" us to use public transit when we've had no adequate public transit to use. In effect, we have been subsidizing transportation in other municipalities and it's grossly unfair to saddle us with a further gas tax.
It is widely acknowledged that consumers in B.C. are currently being gouged by the petroleum companies. Crude oil prices have been dropping for months and our at-the-pump prices have actually risen instead of dropping. Asking us to pay this additional tax just is not a suitable stratagem at this juncture.
I feel poorer and poorer each year. My municipal taxes have gone up over the past half decade at a much higher rate than inflation and the current system of the Metro Vancouver negotiating salary settlements for all municipalities has given city staff handsome increases at a time when the rest of us are either losing jobs or getting no increases.
Many of us are convinced that TransLink is poorly run and money already given it have not been spent wisely.
I agree with the mayor of Surrey that SkyTrain is an outmoded transportation system with a price tag far too expensive for these recessionary times. Again, don't be railroaded into pushing for SkyTrain-type transit for the Evergreen Line, which probably doesn't best serve our needs in Coquitlam as well as other, cheaper alternatives would.
Time will always be a factor. Since a transit trip into Vancouver now takes twice as long as the same trip by car and since so many need the time that would be wasted by using public transit for other important family needs, trying to punish drivers instead of getting more creative with such things as better carpooling is more than foolish: it is downright discriminatory and not supportable.
In short, if this tax is approved, I can only hope two things will happen:
Every mayor who votes for this tax gets voted out of office in November.
The province takes a closer look at the spending practices at TransLink and that the public is subsequently able to regain the control we have obviously lost.
Maggie Fankboner, Coquitlam