LETTER: Light rail ads destroying ‘Yes’ campaign

The Editor,

The South Fraser area has the region’s lowest "Yes" support rate for the upcoming transit referendum, and I am very unamused.

Who screwed up so badly that in a city where residents have been so concerned about transit improvements, this is how it has turned out?

Mayor Linda Hepner should have realized that when she made an election promise, her big-ticket Light Rail Transit plan that could proceed without the proposed Congestion Improvement Tax, it would interfere with her efforts to support a "Yes" vote. It’s been cited by analysts as a main reason for low "Yes" support in Surrey.

Now, instead of motivating citizens to support transit expansion, our mayor has left them confused. The city’s continued and persistent focus on promoting LRT is on billboards, video screens and SkyTrain advertisements – and now it has become part of why so many more people are voting "No."

More people also realize that LRT isn’t an effective plan for the city.

When the joint study on Surrey’s rapid transit options was conducted, it found that for the same cost as LRT, a SkyTrain extension on Fraser Highway, combined with a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) network throughout the city, will do more to shape communities, get twice as many people out of their cars and offer commuters twice the overall time savings.

The city is instead pushing for an LRT that will cause many more problems than it solves, and save King George Boulevard and 104th Avenue riders only one minute over the current 96 B-Line.

Perhaps this is why the provincial transportation minister, who has encouraged a "Yes" vote, removed "Light Rail Transit in Surrey" from the ballot, replacing the description with "rapid transit."

Mentioning the technology simply interferes. There are so many other reasons that people need to vote "Yes," but Mayor Hepner and the city are too focused on LRT. That’s destroying the transit vote and our transit future.

Daryl Dela Cruz