Re: “Up in the air: Liberals’ referendum promise hangs over transit’s future,” The Leader, June 11.
I think the referendum is a good idea, if the question is good. However, I am very concerned that not all questions are useful.
For example, a bad question would be: Does the Lower Mainland need transportation improvements? The answer is clearly yes. The more important question is: How do you want to pay for transportation improvements in the Lower Mainland?
However, this is not a yes or no question. Therefore, the referendum should not be a yes or no referendum. There should be multiple choices to the question about funding transportation with the following possible answers: a). An increase to gasoline tax; b). An increase to property tax; c). $1 tolls on all Vancouver bridges; d). $2 tolls on select Vancouver bridges.
The Lions Gate Bridge was recently refurbished and there are a number of other transportation options, including buses, SeaBus and the Second Narrows Bridge. The Pattullo Bridge needs to be replaced or refurbished and the SkyTrain is and alternative nearby. Knight Street has the highest number of semi-trailer trucks in the City of Vancouver; therefore it would make sense to encourage car drivers to take an alternative: Oak Street, Arthur Laing, or the new Canada Line.
Recently, I drove my vehicle over the Port Mann Bridge and I found the toll was worth the savings in time, because the new bridge saved me 30 minutes. In addition to bridges, the region needs to fund improvements to public transportation, not just to move people, but also to improve air quality and reduce car congestion for the people who really must drive because they have no other choice.
Time is valuable. Air quality is valuable. Good transportation is good for business. It is time for the politicians to stop arguing and to find a way to move people and to pay for transportation options.