Re."Mayors set to hike gas tax" (The Tri-City News, Oct. 5).
No one doubts sustainable mass transit is long overdue in the Lower Mainland but there's something seriously wrong with the choice to use SkyTrain for the Evergreen Line, and never has it been more obvious than now, with funding becoming such an issue.
Up until 2008, the line was planned to be a light rail project. Since then, TransLink proposed using SkyTrain-type technology instead, hence the need for an additional $574 million. And we'll need a lot more than the two-cent-a-litre gas tax increase to fund it. Besides, if you've been following the news, it's clear the SkyTrain proposal was a boondoggle all along and that it wouldn't benefit the communities here at all. Let's look at the numbers:
TransLink's proposed light rail project was set at $900 million - $500 million less than SkyTrain, which means we wouldn't have needed tax hikes of any kind.
With SkyTrain, there will be only six stations, as opposed to 11 with TransLink's proposed light rail project.
We won't be able to extend SkyTrain once it's built. Light rail costs an average of about $30 million per kilometre, as opposed to SkyTrain's $133 million per kilometre.
Light rail is used in hundreds of other cities around the world, SkyTrain only in a few, and those cities run much higher capacity than our SkyTrains do.
Environmental, financial, and social disruption is much less with light rail construction.
The proposed gas tax increase will net $40 million a year, which means that to fund the $574 million gap, without even more tax increases, it'll take over 12 years. This gas tax is just the tip of the iceberg. We're either going to have to pay way, way more taxes or we're going to end up with defunct concrete pillars all over the place. Do you want to be taxed even more for a service that'll do less and threaten the communities in the process?
Ray Miyasaka, Coquitlam