Mayors want gas tax hike to fund Evergreen Line
Metro Vancouver mayors are calling for a two-cent increase in the gas tax to start building the long-awaited Evergreen transit line.
Under the provincial "Moving Forward" funding plan, the group is also asking for road levies, a graduated vehicle levy and a road pricing transportation improvement fee to cover their $400-million portion of the project bill.
The proposed gas tax hike would be implemented in 2012.
It would also include a three-year limited property tax that would work out to a maximum of $23.13 annually per "average" household. The group says the property tax adjustment could also be replaced by other funding options, such as a transportation improvement levy or regional carbon tax.
West Vancouver Mayor Pamela Goldsmith-Jones said the new funding formula would raise an additional $70 million in revenue.
The proposal from the Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation will now be subject to a round of public consultations.
The BC Chamber of Commerce said it supports the proposals, saying the Evergreen Line and any other new transportation infrastructure would be "a boon for investment."
TransLink already collects a 15 cents-a-litre gas tax.
While the Evergreen Line has been in discussions since the late 1980s, it has been stalled repeatedly because TransLink has not been able to secure its share of the funding for the $1.4-billion project.
The province has committed $410 million for the transit expansion, while the feds have promised an additional $417 million.