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Mayors give province an ultimatum on coming up with new transit-funding plan, but unclear what leverage they have

October 19th, 2012 · 57 Comments

With mayors uncertain yesterday whether to delay any decision about cancelling a two-year property-tax increase for TransLink or to go through with cancelling it instantly, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson swooped in with what’s being called a compromise motion.

The motion, which got enough votes to pass thanks to co-operation from Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts, warns the province that if its officials don’t sit down with TransLink and work out a long-term deal by Feb. 28, 2012, the mayors will cancel the property tax.

But the motion also says they’re going to cancel it no matter what. So I’m not sure exactly how this puts Transportation Minister Mary Polak’s feet to the fire, except to keep the issue at a full boil until just weeks before the election. But since NDP Leader Adrian Dix has declined, despite much prodding, to say what the NDP’s plan for TransLink funding is, hard to see how this is much of a wedge issue.

Anyway, there is probably some deep political strategy here that I’m totally missing. In the meantime, Robertson’s full motion is attached below here.

That the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation:

1.    Request that the Translink Board develop by March 31, 2013 a 2013 Supplemental Plan that meets the following conditions:

a.   No service reductions for transit routes;

b.   No liquidation of capital assets to fund operations;

c.    No inclusion of the time-limited property tax. A new funding model must be agreed upon with the BC government by February 28, 2013;

d.   Any operating gap is closed with funds from Translink’s reserves.

2.    The Mayors’ Council bring forward a framework for a long-term funding plan by January 31, 2013

3.    The Mayors Council write to the Minister of Transportation requesting we create a joint working group immediately to develop solutions and that a deadline of February 28, 2013 be set for the BC Government and Translink Mayors’ Council to reach an agreement on a long-term funding model.

4.    That in the event that a new funding model is not confirmed by February 28, 2013, a new supplement be prepared at that time.


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