Province putting brakes on TransLink tax proposal
The provincial government is putting the brakes on some of TransLink's proposals for a widespread tax grab to make up for a $150 million revenue shortfall -- but one of the most controversial is still rolling along.
Today, B.C. Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon reacted to TransLink's plea for hundreds of millions in new taxes.
"Everyone wants to see the benefits but no one wants to pay for it," he told CTV News.
The Transportation Authority wants the right to levy $100 per vehicle, raise fares, increase property taxes, and tax containers -- hoping to net the authority more than $300 million per year.
And the stakes are high, according to TransLink's CEO, Tom Prendergast.
"So if we were to find no additional funding, we would have to crank back services levels to where they were in the 1970s and no one has the stomach for that," he said.
The NDP says the recession is no time for new taxes.
"Thirty-two hundred people don't want to pay new taxes -- they're tapped out," said NDP MLA Bruce Ralston.
Port Moody Mayor Joe Trassolini says his citizens have paid enough already for the new Evergreen Line, the transit line that will cut a swath through his city.
"We've paid enough taxes -- we should have enough in general revenue," he said.
And as he toured the Pitt River Bridge construction site, even Kevin Falcon drew a line.
"(The) feds are not interested in putting taxes on trailers; we're not interested in taxing real estate dollars," Falcon said.
But one tax grab still on the table is one of the most hated ideas in B.C. history.
The idea of a vehicle levy was killed in 2001, but this time nobody's ruling out a $100 ding for every car in the Lower Mainland.
As a provincial election looms, a vehicle levy could be political poison -- but there's no escaping the fact that's someone's got to pay the fare.
With a report by CTV British Columbia's Jon Woodward