Sales tax won’t resolve transit ills

TransLink’s management must be forced to plan for affordable transit by using much cheaper and more efficient light rail.

The notion that a $0.5-per-cent sales tax increase will solve TransLink’s financial ills is naive in the extreme; spending more money on unsustainable transit projects will only exacerbate TransLink’s money woes.

TransLink faces many problems, including that upper management are career bureaucrats without any knowledge about public transit, and decisions are made that are financially ill-advised, such as a $4-billion SkyTrain subway under Broadway in Vancouver.

TransLink did have a bona fide transit expert CEO, Tom Prendergast, but he lasted barely a year and left, in part blaming the pro-SkyTrain culture at TransLink for his departure.

The driverless SkyTrain was first thought to bring cheaper transit to the region.

Instead it now burdens the taxpayer with a 40- to 60-per-cent operating penalty over much cheaper LRT, but TransLink blunders on planning more metro and even when forced to plan for LRT, as in Surrey, it designs LRT as a poor man’s SkyTrain, both hugely expansive and unworkable.

Despite over $9 billion invested in SkyTrain, there is no evidence that it has reduced congestion or gridlock, and new studies are showing that TransLink’s current SkyTrain planning is actually increasing congestion and pollution.

TransLink doesn’t need any more financing; rather, TransLink’s management must be forced to plan for affordable transit by using much cheaper but more efficient light rail instead of the expensive and obsolete SkyTrain.

TransLink must plan for transit that the customer wants and will use.

The terms user-friendly and affordable are just not in the current TransLink’s management’s lexicon, where it’s believed the taxpayer has deep pockets to fund costly and ill-advised decisions.

 

Malcolm Johnston

Delta

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