Peter Fassbender is the minister responsible for TransLink.

Minister backtracks after saying no referendum needed for vehicle levy

Peter Fassbender fans hopes of Metro mayors, then says he 'misspoke' in comments that a vehicle levy would not trigger a new plebiscite

Peter Fassbender has retracted earlier comments today that Metro Vancouver mayors can impose a vehicle levy to fund regional transit expansion without holding a new referendum.

His statements in a Black Press interview – repeatedly insisting a vehicle levy would not trigger a referendum because it’s already enabled in TransLink’s legislation – surprised Metro Vancouver mayors, some of whom said they wouldn’t have forced a referendum on a regional sales tax had they been told that in 2014.

“I misspoke when it came to the vehicle levy, and I do apologize for that,” Fassbender said, adding that in addition to the need for the province to enable ICBC to collect an annual vehicle registration fee, “it is also a new tax, therefore it would be subject to a plebiscite or a referendum with the public.”

That’s back in line with the BC Liberals’ consistent position on the transit referendum requirements since it was imposed by Premier Christy Clark as part of the party’s 2013 election platform.

Legislation subsequently passed by the provincial government spelled out not just new fees or taxes but any amendment to legislation to enable enforcement of sources – such as a vehicle levy collected by ICBC – as being within the definition of “additional funding sources” triggering a plebiscite.

“I made a mistake,” Fassbender said. “Mea culpa. My fault. I take full responsibility.”

Prior to Fassbender’s retraction, Metro politicians and other transit watchers cautiously celebrated the comments as a sign of BC Liberal softening that could break the stalemate on how to fund transit expansion in the region.

Metro mayors may not have to raise as much money as the $250 million were proposing in last year’s plebiscite to fund the regional share if the federal government offers more generous contributions than the traditional one third.

Federal officials have hinted up to one half could come from Ottawa, reducing the regional requirement to 17 per cent. Fassbender said the province won’t increase its contribution beyond one third.

Read the original version of this story on Fassbender’s comments and the mayors’ reactions.

 

 

 

Just Posted

Surrey council approves free two-hour parking at city hall, around hospital

Although council gave its blessing to offer the free parking Monday (Nov. 19), it was already made free last week

Surrey School District says it needs 7 new schools in next decade

Surrey council endorsed the district’s 2019-20 capital plan on Monday, Nov. 19

Surrey Fire Service to provide non-emergency dispatch services for Port Moody

It’s said the move will bring in more than $9,000 a year for the City of Surrey

Second person dies following head-on collision in Surrey

Paige Nagata of Abbotsford was in crash on Nov. 4 that also killed Sarah Dhillon

Man still in hospital after struck by car in Surrey last week

The man was airlifted to hospital with “potential life-threatening” injuries after the incident

White Rock pier light show

Dancing lights highlighted off the water front

Laine scores 3 as Jets double Canucks 6-3

Injury-riddled Vancouver side drops sixth in a row

Deportation averted for Putin critic who feared return to Russia

Elena Musikhina, a vocal critic of the Kremlin, has been granted a two-year visitor’s permit in Canada

B.C. to allow Uber-style ride hailing services to operate in late 2019

Fee will be applied to fund options for disabled people

Auditor general takes aim at Liberals’ fighter-jet plan

Suditor general Michael Ferguson is about to release a new report on Canada’s attempts to buy new fighter jets

B.C. couple converts ambulance into a traveling home

The Revelstoke couple plan on touring B.C. ski hills then driving to Mexico

Cyclist defecates, throws own poop at car following B.C. crash

Man defecates in the street before throwing it at a driver locked in her vehicle

11 years sought for Burnaby man who killed girlfriend with hammer, burned her body

Manslaughter sentencing hearing started Monday in Chilliwack for Ryan Armstrong

Jamie Koe, other curlers kicked out of bonspiel for being too drunk

‘You don’t kick around other players’ bags, it’s disrespectful and we expect better of our players’

Most Read