To the editor:
The real reason for the newest flavour of taxation policies-road pricing to further fund a decrepit regional transit authority-can be laid squarely at the feet of Sky-Train light metro and the B.C. Liberal government pilfering of gas/carbon tax monies for general revenue.
Despite the hype and hoopla about SkyTrain, the proprietary light-metro is too expensive to build and operate, as evidenced by the Canada Line, which is not SkyTrain at all, but a cheaper off the shelf knock-off. Sky-Train was too expensive for the Canada Line.
On page 15, in the 1993, joint GVRD/Ministry of Transportation report, The Cost of Transporting People in the BC Lower Mainland, it was revealed that the annual provincial subsidy for SkyTrain was $157.6 million; the combined subsidy for the diesel and trolley buses was just $132.4 million. With the addition of the Millennium Line, this subsidy increased to over $200 million and with the Canada Line, this annual subsidy has now surpassed $300 million. It becomes easier to see why there is no extra money for TransLink because TransLink is already quietly getting a big chunk of transit cash from the province.
The Evergreen Line will only add to this annual subsidy, further exacerbating problems with TransLink's dubious finances.
When the Gordon Campbell Liberals gained office, they instantly reduced taxes and greatly increased user-fees and levies. To maintain revenue, the B.C Liberals diverted gas tax and carbon tax monies into general revenue to balance the books. Tax monies earmarked for regional transportation just disappeared into the black hole of general revenue.
TransLink is hiding the real truth about its ongoing financial malaise because they have compliant regional mayors who seem ever so willing to destroy their political careers to force yet another tax on the taxed-out local taxpayer.
Malcolm Johnston, Delta, B.C.