News Views: Rejected

The region still needs transit improvements.

Metro Vancouver voters rejected the transit tax.

The No vote won with 68 per cent opposed to a 0.5 per cent rise in the sales tax to pay for $7.5-billion worth of transit and transportation projects over the next decade.

So it’s back to the beginning.

The region still needs transit improvements, such as expanded rapid transit, more buses and a replacement for the Pattullo Bridge.

But it still has to find a way to pay for them.

The No result can be interpreted several ways: most voters don’t want to pay more taxes and don’t care about such improvements or think they are unnecessary now; or they know better transit and transportation options are needed, but don’t agree with regional mayors that the method of payment proposed was the best or fairest option.

We tend to think voters saw the tax for what it was: an unfair increase.

The proposed improvements wouldn’t benefit all in the region the same, or any less for those just beyond the Metro boundary. And some of us already pay bridge tolls, although there are many such structures in the region without fees.

Mayors said during the campaign, among many fear tactics used, that the new tax was the only solution. We’ll see now.

After threats of reduced transit services for under utilized routes, mostly likely in the areas furthest east of Vancouver, other ideas will again be floated – road pricing, lower tolls on all existing bridges and tunnels.

Maybe the federal and provincial governments will get involved.

Perhaps private partnerships will be sought.

For certain, TransLink does not have the public’s trust, and that will need to ne addressed.

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News