Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie (left) and TransLink executive vice-president for strategic planning and public affairs.

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie (left) and TransLink executive vice-president for strategic planning and public affairs.

Mayors complain they’re alone in fight for TransLink cash

Board, bureaucrats in hiding on controversial issue: Brodie

TransLink officials are being criticized by Metro Vancouver mayors for backing off on the push for new funding solutions to expand the transit system.

Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie accused the transportation authority of shirking the unpopular task of securing new revenue tools and dumping the job in the laps of the mayors.

“This is a complete and utter abdication by the board and by TransLink to do what they’re supposed to do,” Brodie said at a March 7 meeting of Metro Vancouver’s newly formed transportation committee.

The regional mayors council has called on the province to provide TransLink with new cash sources – an annual vehicle levy, road pricing, a share of carbon tax revenue or a small dedicated sales tax of no more than 0.5 per cent.

“We are taking on the role because no one else is taking it on,” Brodie said. “Everybody else has walked away.”

Brodie also criticized TransLink board chair Nancy Olewiler for so far failing to keep a promise to open up closed board meetings to the public.

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan also argued the TransLink board has not sufficiently backed up the mayors in the push for new funding.

TransLink executive vice-president Bob Paddon responded, saying it’s “very difficult” to have an informed dialogue with the public at large about new taxes or fees to fund TransLink.

TransLink has been repeatedly slammed with media headlines like “28 ways for TransLink to pick your pocket” when new sources were floated, he told the mayors.

“We pushed hard on this, we got nowhere with it,” Paddon said. “It is something people are very passionate about, they have strong opinions about.”

Instead, he said, the board and executive concentrated on finding efficiencies to cut TransLink’s costs.

TransLink needs at least another $5 billion just to keep up the existing system over the next 30 years.

To significantly expand the system, Paddon estimated $14 to $23 billion will be needed over the same period, depending on how fast the region wants to grow and the types of transit upgrades that are picked.

That expansion spending equates to a need for TransLink to raise an extra $175 to $700 million per year to fund its share of capital costs, he said, assuming the federal and provincial governments still contribute large shares as well.

TransLink will lay out a plan on transit line expansions, such as the Vancouver and Surrey extensions, over the next 15 years, with costs.

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson noted $2.3 billion in capital spending divided by 2.3 million residents is the equivalent of $10,000 per capita, adding that is “not acceptable by any standpoint.”

Surrey Mayor and committee chair Dianne Watts reminded her the $2.3 billion doesn’t count senior government contributions.

Paddon also pointed out some of TransLink’s success depends on the decisions of individual cities to densify housing on transit corridors to increase ridership and revenue.

He showed aerial photos of some original Expo Line SkyTrain stations in east Vancouver, still surrounded by low-density single-family houses after more than 25 years

“I understand there are reasons why things don’t happen,” Paddon said. “But if we are going to make those investments we want to see the benefits.”

The meeting happened after Mayors Council chair Richard Walton said he was disappointed with the provincial government’s lack of response to the calls for funding reform.

“Without the proper tools and authority, our hands are tied,” he said.

Transportation Minister Mary Polak indicated the province would take no new steps before the May provincial election.

Just Posted

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

Drop-in Covid vaccine clinic in Mission June 17-18

Neighbourhood clinics complement appointment-based clinics currently operating in Mission

Canadian Blood Service is adding additional donor clinics in Mission

New Sunday clinics begin June 20, donors can register online

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Most Read