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Let’s pit workhorse against the Cadillac
Gordon Price and Jordan Bateman speak in generalities— “no new taxes” vs. “more tax for the greater good.”
We’ve heard both themes before. Rhetorical absolutes are easy but what we need is a way to deal with the specifics.
A referendum across the region could easily be decided by those who will benefit voting taxes onto those who won’t benefit.
Instead, the mayors and selected council members should sit down with the province and make a comprehensive list of the next necessary extensions of transit with a focus on necessary. I believe this list includes the Evergreen Line (finally started), rail south of the river and then the UBC extension.
The TransLink board and their resident experts should then cost out these options as accurately as possible and then decide how long they will take under the present budget. If any part of the region wants to upsize or fast-track their next extension, they should hold a city referendum on paying for the difference from their own local tax base.
I used to ride the original 99 B-Line from Lougheed Town Centre to UBC. It took a little over 40 minutes and was just as nice as SkyTrain. And don’t forget, rubber wheels can run the day after an earthquake. Tunnels can cave and aerial guideways can fall down. Drivers on wheels can drive around the rubble.
There are cheaper options than high-tech rail isolated by expensive tunnel or guideways.
We should be saying to each other: “If you want a workhorse system, I’ll help pay for it. If you want a Cadillac, you pay for it.”
Any referendum should have as a main option the cheapest possible method.