A letter writer argues that given the choice

Cost is the issue with train, tax

Please – no more legacies or icons. Surrey taxpayers are already stuck with one.

Trains went out of favour because better alternatives became available. But train nostalgia persists and in Surrey the mayor champions its cause.

Linda Hepner wants to put rails down the middle of 104 Avenue and  King George Boulevard and bring the much-despised narrowness of the Pattullo Bridge to Surrey streets. Please – no more legacies or icons. Surrey taxpayers are already stuck with one.

I am taken aback that LRT found its way into an official plan. The large majority of residents want SkyTrain.

In Vancouver they are starting to grow upwards. SkyTrain fits the bill.

Surrey should not settle for just “doable.” We need solid planning and design which will serve the needs for decades to come. With a growing population, vehicle traffic is sure to increase.

Lower starting cost is touted as a plus for LRT. It will be an orphan system in the Lower Mainland. It will require new depots for repair, storage and marshalling; spare parts depots; continuing training; and all the attendant overheads. What would you do for parts in 30 years’ time?

There should be no rush to put rails in the ground. Buses provide great flexibility. I  see the B-line buses with light to moderate loads.

Provide Surrey taxpayers with a detailed study of total costs over the same lifespan. They will choose SkyTrain. It is unobtrusive, with known costs and parameters and is fast. The world is moving at the speed of iPhone 6. Please don’t stick us with iPhone4.

Dave Bains, Surrey

 

Stop wasting taxpayer money

Am I confident that TransLink will be more responsible with a 0.5-per-cent tax than they have been to date if the transit referendum passes? And do I have faith that the 0.5-per-cent tax won’t increase to one or two per cent or even more if they discover that 0.5 per cent isn’t enough? Definitely not.

The amount of waste that TransLink is responsible for is atrocious. For example, having six boards of directors, paying two CEOs exorbitant salaries, a million here, half-a million there, and on and on.

TransLink is a bottomless pit that is already raking in our tax dollars from gasoline, parking, property taxes and BC Hydro levies.

Incidentally, the cost estimates for the two most expensive parts of the project (for Surrey Light Rapid Transit and the Vancouver Broadway subway) were done several years ago. One engineer said it might go up or down 15 per cent but he didn’t think it would double or triple. How reassuring. How many things go down in price? Nothing I know of.

If you have a hole in a bucket, the common sense approach is to repair it before you add any more water. Before we are asked to give any more money to a badly broken system such as TransLink, there needs to be a major reduction of waste and some definite accountability in place.

A 0.5-per-cent increase might be a drop in the bucket for the mayors, many of whom earn six-figure salaries, but is a different matter for low-income families and seniors.

If the yes vote wins, my concern is that they will say that 0.5 per cent isn’t enough because of unforeseen expenses/increased prices since previous estimates were done, and this tax will keep escalating on a regular basis for the rest of our lives.

I will be voting no until they stop wasting our money and give us more information about possible future increases in this tax.

Better yet, let the B.C. government use some of its $879-million surplus to fund it.

L. Mackintosh, Coquitlam

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