Here’s the head from today’s Sun:
Here’s the actual wording:
“Surrey is well placed to secure B.C.’s first funding commitment under the Liberal plan.”
And in that subtle wording – “well placed” – is more evidence of the damage being done by the referendum.
The Conservatives also want to pledge billions to Surrey for light rail. The Province too – only key people in Victoria would prefer, it is said, a SkyTrain extension down the Fraser Highway. But none of them can actually commit the money until Surrey can come to the table with one-third of local funding.
But guess what? Surrey can’t.
Oh, it’s trying. I hear rumours of casinos, value capture, whatever might be needed to fulfil a unilateral election promise. So far, it appears that the numbers don’t add up.
Normally, the one-third would be a commitment of regional dollars from TransLink. But not now, at least not by cutting a huge hole in its budget which accommodates only the current level of service and, because of the referendum, has no source of money to spend on capital expansion at that scale, without penalizing everyone else in the region.
Of course, if Surrey wanted another big bridge or widened highway, no problem. The Province would possibly cover all the capital. But transit? If the Province covered both its and the municipality’s capital costs, it would be using dollars from taxpayers throughout B.C. And the Premier would have to explain to the citizens of West Kelowna why they should help pay for Metro transit after Metro citizens voted not to.
Let’s see what Peter Fassbender comes up with. No matter who gets elected to Ottawa, there are big bucks looking for a place and a way to land. With, so far, no obvious way to do so.