I finally decided to vote ‘Yes’ on transit plebiscite

Surrey – The Editor, The transit referendum for Metro Vancouver has resulted in heated debates on television, radio, social media and amongst friends, family and co-workers.

Initially, I was completely against another tax because we already have an incredibly high cost of living.

Families are struggling to raise their children and maintain a reasonable standard of living. Another tax is just going to make that more expensive.

Add to that the concerns regarding TransLink’s undemocratic governance structure, and you have a perfect combination of reasons to vote “No.”

However, as I started to delve deeper into the details regarding the plan and what Surrey residents receive in exchange, I gradually began to change my mind. For more than 20 years, Surrey has been shortchanged by paying taxes for rapid transit for neighbouring cities: Millennium Line, Canada Line, Evergreen Line.

It’s finally Surrey’s turn. Under the current plan, almost half of the total transit infrastructure will benefit Surrey residents, while being paid for by all Metro Vancouver residents.

The 0.5 per cent hike in PST isn’t the perfect tax, but the exemptions on food, children’s clothing and medications makes it more reasonable to other forms of fees and hidden taxes.

Furthermore, this tax is earmarked only for transit, not general government revenue. If this vote fails, Surrey residents will most likely pay much more in taxes because Mayor Linda Hepner has already stated she will deliver transit alone.

Therefore, we end up paying for transit entirely on our own while the rest of the region gets off without contributing anything to our city.

I’m tired of paying taxes, however I am even more tired of paying taxes to fund transit for everyone else. Surrey, take this chance to vote “Yes,” because we are finally getting our turn to vastly improve our own transportation system.

Harpinder Sandhu

Surrey