As we talked about on Wednesday, the Mayors’ Council met this morning to decide on our 2010 10-Year Plan.
And the mayors have decided to approve the $130 million Funding Stabilization plan supplement, which works to maintain road and transit operations at current levels, and puts further expansion of the system on hold for now.
Most mayors see this as an interim plan, and the Council has actually called on us to develop a new transportation plan supplement within the next six to nine months, establishing a framework to start system-wide expansion once again.
We’ve issued this press release with our reaction to the plan, plus background on how we came to this point.
There’s a key point in the release about how we are working hard to bring costs down and keep them down.
For their part, Chair Parker and TransLink’s CEO Tom Prendergast committed to continuing with aggressive cost controls and efficiency gains in order to completely resolve the $150 million annual funding gap. The Authority has frozen the salaries of management and exempt staff as well as expansion capital; no further hiring is underway and the 2009 budget was reduced by $6 million. TransLink also ended 2008 with an $8.2 million surplus, $3.2 million better than expected.
And the release also has detail on how the funds for the Funding Stabilization option will be raised:
The additional revenue will be generated in part by 3 cents per litre increase in fuel taxes levied within Metro Vancouver (to 15¢/l) and a transit fare increase on FareSaver tickets and monthly passes in 2010. TransLink will apply to the Regional Transportation Commissioner for the price increase on FareSaver tickets. There will be no increase in cash fares in 2010 and U-Pass rates are set in contracts with participating colleges and universities.
We’ll be announcing the timing of those increases by the end of the year. As for now, we’ll be working to figure out the details of what comes next under our newly determined funding. As always, I’ll have more on that as the info comes in.