Whether you’re driving, parking or taking transit in Metro Vancouver, taxes and fares for all three are set to see a jump on Canada Day.
Starting July 1, TransLink is raising single-use transit fares by five to 10 cents, along with a three per cent hike for the parking tax to 24 per cent.
Meanwhile, the motor fuel tax that applies only to TransLink’s boundaries will rise another 1.6 cents per litre to 18.6 per cent — just after the region appeared to recover from record-setting gas prices this spring.
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The parking tax hike will add 15 cents per hour to an average $5 per hour parking stall in the city.
Metered street parking is not covered by the parking tax, which applies to any paid parking stall that offers hourly, daily or monthly rates.
The province announced last spring that it will allow TransLink to raise the tax as one of the revenue streams meant to cover the regional funding gap for major projects. Those include the approved SkyTrain extensions from Surrey to Langley, and in Vancouver to UBC, which fall under Phase Two of the Mayors’ Council 10-Year Vision investment plan.
Despite the jump, the parking tax will still be more than 10 percentage points lower than it was before 2010, when the 12 per cent HST rate brought the tax to 35.5 per cent.
This is the first time the tax has been increased since 2010, when it was brought down to 21 per cent.
The 10-year plan will get additional funding from the hikes to transit fares.
Beyond the five to 10 cent single-use jumps, those include a 25-cent hike for day passes and $3 for adult monthly passes. Concession monthly passes will go up by $2.
The fare jump is the third in a series of changes announced in November 2016 to help pay for the investment plan.
Finally, the motor fuel tax increase is set to bring gas prices past $1.50 per litre in Metro Vancouver once again, after drivers saw relief in June.
A share of those funds will go to TransLink, while the rest go to the province.
The B.C. government has been at odds over how to combat wildly shifting gas prices, with the BC Liberals arguing the province should cancel the motor fuel tax to provide short-term relief.
Premier John Horgan has repeatedly defended the tax and other levies applied to gasoline, including the carbon tax, arguing the real source of the problem is oil industry gouging.
An inquiry into the cost of gasoline is currently underway at the BC Utilities Commission, but taxes are not part of the mandate for the inquiry.
Instead, the focus is on whether oil companies and suppliers play a role in price fluctuations and whether regulation can be introduced to prevent such changes.