News Views: Life and death

The group’s only solution is to fund needed transit improvements is to bump up the provincial sale tax in the region by 0.5 per cent.

The Metro mayors’ council has no ‘Plan B’ if the transit referendum fails.

The group’s only solution is to fund needed transit improvements, such as more SkyTrain, adding light rail transit and more buses, is to bump up the provincial sale tax in the region by 0.5 per cent.

If the plan is approved, a B-line bus connecting Maple Ridge to SkyTrain in Coquitlam could be in place in two to three to five years.

So they say.

If the tax increase is not approved, then planned projects would take at least twice as long to implement, according to the mayors.

Their plan for transportation and transit improvements, with a million more people expected in the Metro region over the next 30 years, would reduce road congestion by 20 per cent.

Their plan would cost the average household $125 a year, or 35 cents a day.

A new four-lane bridge to replace the Patullo is also part of the plan, which aims to reduce the number of vehicles on roads.

And building a new bridge, as well as replacing the Massey Tunnel, as the province plans, will do that?

The Golden Ears and Port Mann bridges, with their tolls and lower than expected usage, are doing a fine job of reducing traffic congestion.

Do we need another empty toll bridge?

Why, if it’s so important to expand transit as the population of the Lower Mainland swells, won’t the provincial government fund it?

Why is it the responsibility of local mayors to find money for the plan?

They shouldn’t have to drive around the region selling their vision. Voters will support the plan if they think it’s fair. They don’t need to be pressured.

The mayors’ plan may be the best they can do under the current governance structure, but it is not fair, or sensible, and the referendum should fail.

The province needs to fix what is wrong with the multiple layers that govern transportation in the region, then devise a funding strategy that doesn’t tax one group of residents more than another, especially when the services are meant for all.


– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News