Increase sales tax for TransLink: Metro mayors
Published Wednesday, February 6, 2013 8:31AM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 6, 2013 8:52PM PST
Metro Vancouver mayors have made a recommendation to increase taxes to help fund public transit.
The mayors’ council suggested a sales tax increase of no more than half a percent after transport minister Mary Polak asked for recommendations to help TransLink overcome its current financial shortcomings.
Council chair Richard Walton said the mayors understand it’s not an attractive option, but current funding for transit is not enough.
“Nobody wants additional taxes in any way,” Walton said
”I’m not expecting to win a popularity contest by being out here and suggesting it. But the reality is that in order for us to provide the transit that the region needs in areas that are already grossly underserviced, the money needs to come from somewhere.”
The mayors’ council provided other alternatives to help TransLink, including a vehicle levy, using provincial carbon tax funds, and public financing via capturing of land value.
“At this point we’re throwing these out for discussion and obviously regardless of the political level you’re at, you discuss these things, you get a lot of negative feedback,” Walton said. “Nobody wants to pay more, but everybody wants better transit.”
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation slammed the suggestion, saying the public should not be on the hook for what it calls TransLink’s mismanagement.
“I think taxpayers are going to be outraged when they get wind of what they mayors actually want here,” said B.C. CTF spokesman Jordan Bateman.
"This is an organization that is spending money on poodles on a pole...now they are coming back with their hand out for even more of our money"
The mayors’ council said it hopes to get a response from Polak on the recommendations in the coming weeks.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Scott Hurst