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Thursday, February 19, 2015

APPROVING THE TRANSLINK TAX IS AKIN TO GOING OFF THE RAILS ON A CRAZY TRAIN



Between March 16, the start of the mail-in period and May 29, the day of the actual vote, British Columbians living in the shadow of Vancouver can take to voting booths to vote down or vote up what looks like a giant boondoggle, giving a corporation, TransLink (the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority), $250 million (Canadian) a year in unearned income.

Voters ought to stop and then start to think. If TransLink execs can't fund expansion of their transit product by the sale of bonds with interest paid by a part of the revenues paid by riders, clearly, the current business isn't viable. To rely on the force of taxation to fund expansion reveals the failing of TransLink's current business.

Those living in Langley and Maple Ridge among other cities will be forced to fund the building of three stop-and-go, surface train routes in Surrey comically called "rapid transit" for a whopping $2.1-billion with the claim of being opened by 2022. They will be held to pay for a wallet-gouging $2-billion, five-station Vancouver subway beneath Broadway with the claim of being opened by 2024.

In a scant five years, self-driving cars shall hit the roads. Soon thereafter, all mass transit infrastructure shall begin to be revealed as obsolete. It's unlikely the proposed expansion of a subway line in Vancouver and the light rail system in Surrey will get built by the time that self-driving vehicles shall flood streets.

The mayors of 21 cities lorded over by TransLink have squandered $4 million in politicking to convince voters to approve of this regional heist. And yet, in 2013, the Mayors' Council released a statement claiming TransLink's Board of Directors and chief executives lacked "accountability to the population being served, which is almost completely missing from the available arrangements."

Mainlanders suffer from such gross negiligence of TransLink's Board of Directors. Recently, the CEO of TransLink stepped down after serious problems. The directors continue to pay the man at the rate of $468,000 a year until his contract expires in 2016. As well, concurrently, the directors pay him at the rate of $420,000 a year until the directors find his replacement.

It amuses to see how Canadians always think in terms of hockey and this show down isn't any different. At the No TransLink Tax site, site backers ask if mainlanders are willing to give up the equivalent of a night out to a Vancouver Canucks hockey game each year. At the site though, all should be shocked at how much TransLink depends upon taxation to survive. Perpetual subsidy is the hallmark of a failed business.

Among other things codified by the ballot measure, each year, TransLink will squander $16.5 million year to pave 2,700-kilometre more paths for bicyclists.

The vote shall go down between March 16 and May 29.