With Phase 1 of the 10-year TransLink plan funded and work well underway, people are wondering where the money will come from for Phase 2, where some really big bucks get spent. Broadway Subway, Surrey light rail, Pattullo Bridge.
Minister Fassbender is proposing transit be (at least partly) financed by cashing in on the increase in land value and ensuing profits for developments built around transit stations. He assured BC municipalities that he is not planning to rob their piggy-banks.
Hello Broadway Extension; goodbye CAC’s. And welcome to a “transit-supporting levy” collected and administered by your Provincial Gov’t.
Note that the Mayors previously proposed a “region-wide development fee” to help fund transit. This fee would apply region-wide, with possibly higher rate for higher-density transit oriented developments. See page 35 of the  Mayor’s 10-Year Vision Investment Plan.
Thanks to Frances Bula in the Globe and Mail.

Other cities, notably Metro Toronto, have considered this kind of “land-value capture” system for financing transit, as well. Some look to the City of Vancouver’s existing method of community-amenity contributions as a model. Vancouver negotiates with developers to give back community benefits equivalent to 75 per cent of the land-value increase they see when their land is rezoned.
Vancouver is especially likely to be concerned how its approach would be disrupted by a new transit levy.
The city collected $105-million in 2015 in community amenity contributions from developers who got rezonings. Half of that went to an affordable-housing fund, while the remainder was spent on heritage, parks, community centres and child-care facilities



  1. The underlying logic being that the main beneficiary of the Transit investment contribute to it: that seems to be a proposal going into the right direction.
    It was also the point I was making in this post

    1. In the absence of complete mobility pricing, your argument tends to divide itself. The concept that the benefactors should pay and not the users should apply equally to roads as it does to transit fare collection which recoups about half of transit operating costs on average in the region.
      Moreover, return on investment, as described in your linked post, is horribly unfair when external costs are ignored, like GHG emissions, emergency services, litigation, maintenance, poor urban planning, etc. Trying to apply simple private sector accounting to vital public services is like trying to genetically modify an apple into an orange. By all means, let’s address return on investment, but let’s not limit the analysis to simplistic terms and limited direct costs, as does the CTF. Where is their economic analysis of the Port Mann project? On the public costs of suburban sprawl? Or a life span cost-benefit comparison between transit-oriented development

  2. From the article in the G&M:
    “I don’t want the cities to feel like we’re trying to rob their piggy-bank…,” Mr. Fassbender said.
    … but we’re going to rob their piggy bank.

  3. This is a new tax imposed on cities by the Provincial Government. When the cities wanted new avenues of taxation the province demanded a plebiscite.
    The province already rakes in a huge amount of income tax and sales tax from cities. It is time for them to give some of it back without adding more burden to those cities.
    Voony, it’s the wrong direction. You step on the gas and the brake at the same time. You make transit oriented development less attractive by making it more expensive.

  4. Makes sense to me if it goes towards the regional share of transit projects.
    The robbing the piggy bank aspect is somewhat artificial.
    In other cities (i.e. Toronto) the City is the one building the transit system, so there’s no “me, me, me” screaming and shoving by the municipalities trying to protect their turf..
    (As an aside, if you think the municipalities would agree if they were in complete control, you can also see how having the City make the decisions has stalled transit decisions in Toronto due to the whims of the incoming and outgoing municipal councils (they’re now starting on a $3B one-stop subway extension to Scarborough)).

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