TransLink has a number of major projects planned for the next 10 years but it may be missing an important support — funding.
Doubling its bus service, developing a zero-emission fleet, and building a gondola up Burnaby Mountain are parts of TransLink’s 10-year plan.
Currently, TransLink largely relies on property and fuel taxes for funding.
The chair of the TransLink mayors’ council said the number one priority for TransLink has to be finding an alternative funding model other than the one in place right now.
“We need to get building,” said Brad West, TransLink mayors’ council chair and Port Coquitlam’s mayor.
“We need to get shovels in the ground and we need to get these projects underway. The way to do that is to have other levels of government come to the table, talk to us about how we get these funded and how to get going.”
A new funding model for TransLink was briefly considered in 2015.
A referendum asked Metro Vancouver voters if they would support a new 0.5 per cent sales tax to fund transit projects.
Voters shot down the idea with 62 per cent voting no.
”Public transit and our transportation system underpin much of what happens in our region and province,” West said.
“It’s about people’s quality of life, it’s about getting to where you need to go, it’s about getting to work, it’s about getting your kids to their activities, it’s about our economy, it’s about our environment, it’s about reaching climate goals — it really connects all the dots for all the things other levels of government are saying are important.”
While West and the mayors’ council are now banging the table for a new funding model, West said TransLink is in talks with the province over its funding issue.