A surge of ‘No’ could put brakes on transit referendum
A majority of people in Metro Vancouver plan to vote against the upcoming transportation plebiscite, according to a new survey.
Insights West says its sample shows that 53 per cent of people would “definitely or probably vote No,” up 11 per cent since last month.
A total of 38 per cent of respondents in the online poll said they would vote Yes.
A referendum is set to begin next month on the proposed 0.5 per cent congestion improvement tax, which would apply to everything the PST does and is meant to fund new transit options and better roads.
If the tax is approved, Metro Vancouver shoppers will see a combined PST and transit tax totalling 7.5 per cent on their receipts.
Pollster Mario Canseco said young people aged 18 to 34 are roughly split on the question, while those aged 55 and over are 59 per cent likely to vote against it.
Support for Yes among people who use public transit for work or school during the week dropped nine per cent in the last month, according to the survey.
A total of 54 per cent of people who walk or bike say they’ll vote Yes, and a majority of drivers – 57 per cent – said they’d vote No.
“This month, we see a double-digit increase for the No side, with the bulk of this support coming from drivers, middle-income earners and residents of the municipalities located south of the Fraser River, such as Surrey,” said Canseco.
When asked about which transit projects affect them the most, people in Metro Vancouver cite maintaining and upgrading local roads (24 per cent), increasing service on SkyTrain, Canada Line, SeaBus and West Coast Express (18 per cent) and adding bus service and new B-line rapid routes (16 per cent).
Not everyone who supports the transit referendum shares that enthusiasm for TransLink, or the agency’s performance.
Seventy-per-cent of Yes voters said they’re not satisfied with the company’s performance, but they do believe the vote is the best way to deal with the region’s current and future transit issues.
Among the No voters, 82 per cent said TransLink isn’t capable of properly implementing transit initiatives, and 74 per cent believe there are other ways to fund those projects.
Residents will receive ballots in the mail beginning March 16 and have a deadline of May 29 to submit their vote.
Insights West polled 653 adults between Feb. 12 and 14. Results have a margin of error of +/-4%.