Mayors must stop being sucked in on TransLink funding
Re. “Polak undecided on proposed tax” (The Tri-City News, Feb. 8).
As P.T. Barnum said, “There is a sucker born every minute.” And it seems Metro Vancouver mayors are being suckered by TransLink’s demand for more money.
TransLink’s shaky fiscal house can be blamed on:
• gross mismanagement, which demands more and more taxpayers’ money to hide;
• building the SkyTrain and Canada Line light-metro instead building with much cheaper LRT;
• senior government interference;
• and lack of public oversight.
This witch’s brew of fiscal and planning incompetence has all but bankrupted TransLink and to send more money into the black hole shows political ennui by regional politicians, who seem to seek political oblivion by forcing more taxes and user fees on an angry public. Do these mayors remember the HST debacle?
Other than eliminating TransLink and starting anew, the region’s mayors should demand the provincial government, which ultimately controls TransLink:
• Eliminate TransLink’s planning function and hire transit experts as it will get better transit planning and advice than from career bureaucrats.
• Plan and build modern LRT instead of SkyTrain as it’s both cheaper to build and operate and has the capability to carry more riders. Has anyone noticed at TransLink that no one builds with SkyTrain any more?
• Make TransLink or a new transit authority autonomous from senior politicians and their lobbyists.
• Have the new transit authority’s operating board made up of elected members, one from each Metro municipality, elected during civic elections.
It is time for Metro Vancouver mayors to find some moral backbone and stand up to TransLink (and for many, their political masters in Victoria) and say no to further taxes and let TransLink collapse under its sheer weight of its incompetence.
It is time for the region’s mayors to be suckered no more.
Malcolm Johnston, Delta