By Gord Price

The total cost of the first phase of the plan is $2 billion, with $370 million coming from the federal government and $246 million from the province for capital costs. TransLink is contributing $1.3 billion in capital and operational funding.

So wtf was the referendum for?  Why did we waste millions and, more importantly, precious time to get where we all could have been with a little negotiation if the Premier hadn’t locked us into that pointless exercise?
Which, according to the law, we will have to do again if this is to happen unless the Province decides otherwise:

A regional funding source for the second phase has not yet been determined, but mobility pricing has been proposed and would require approval from the province.

But, instead of a commitment, the usual bullshit:

Peter Fassbender, minister responsible for TransLink, said he was pleased with the mayors’ vote.
“Because of the positive decision today, the next step is to continue to collaborate with the federal government and the region to look at what the future might hold,” he said.

What might the future might hold?  You tell us.
That is the point of an election: for political leaders to declare their intentions and commitments.
So far, the Liberal’s commitment is to require a referendum if there is to be a new revenue source for transit funding – resulting in the trashing of TransLink and the removal of transit as a funding priority, while the provincial government commits to massive roads and bridges.
Without ever having to say so.


  1. So wtf was the referendum for?
    That is an excellent question.
    It’s been rehashed over and over again and again, with no satisfactory answer based on transportation criteria. It will no doubt get rehashed over and over below by the pundits for Autotopia.
    The most precise explanation? Partisan politics.

  2. If TransLink’s board wants to go outside their mandate then obviously a new law, through a referendum is required. TransLink cannot have carte blanche otherwise they might just decide to, say, tax lattes or bicycles or school buses trips or hamburgers or who knows what, just to pay for their latest plan. There has to be some accountability for citizens.
    Right now TransLink gets gas tax (a massive part of their budget, many hundreds of millions a year), they also get a 21% Metro parking tax, etc., etc. They have finally agreed to raise fares a fraction and raise money from increased property taxes, to finance this new plan. Whew, that took what, 5 years. The Feds have come up with an agreement to increase funding and the province has relaxed some requirements, if TransLink want to play silly buggers and demand another new tax source we’ll all be waiting another five years, for perhaps another No.
    Are they really ready to risk again their reputation after being so thoroughly discredited and defeated in the last plebiscite? Will yet more TransLink honchos be fired by the TransLink board as they again promise us that they have cleaned up their act?
    It would be impossible for the provincial government to ignore the vote of the last shot taken by TransLink and simply give in, pass new legislation and give them more powers to tax in a massive new way. Not even the NDP would agree to support a regressive mobility tax.
    There comes a point where it becomes the subject of farce:

    1. “Cleaned up their act”? Man, you have greedily consumed ALL of the Kool Aid. And you’re searching for more. You must be an expert in organizational management to know that Translink was such a mess – or have just absorbed the endless drumbeat of other partisan experts on television.
      There is, nor has ever been, anything wrong with Translink other than it being beholden to a partisan provincial government. When that government supports public transit, then nobody notices Translink’s limitations. When that government, such as the one we currently have, does not support public transit in a meaningful way, then what Translink can and can’t do becomes painfully obvious. Any issues or difficulties with Translink fulfilling its mandate are squarely on Ms. Christie’s shoulders.

      1. Perhaps the plebiscite was held before you came here. Just before the plebiscite was held and just after, a number of executives and managers were fired by the TransLink board. At the time both the Sun and the Globe and Mail described TransLink as ‘beleaguered’ and they were being nice.
        Management shakeup to TransLink only the beginning of changes – The Globe and Mail › news › arti…
        Jul 14, 2015 – Close observers of Vancouver-area transit say many more changes will likely be coming to TransLink, after news the beleaguered agency has dumped two of its top executives in the aftermath …
        Some people like watching expensive gong shows but it was their money.

        1. No. I was here for the whole thing. Translink was forced into “doing something” by provincial politics. There was never any problem – just a perception of a problem by people who watched too much television.

        2. Do you think there should not be a limit on where and how TransLink can tax the people? Remembering that the TransLink decision makers are not elected.
          If there was never any problem then why did TransLink remove CEO Ian Jarvis, at full pay, during the plebiscite and hire another CEO at $35,000.00 a month, during the plebiscite, then hire Jimmy Pattison to oversee the new funds from the new tax?
          Was that all because of tv?

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