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On Evergreen Line funding and more: TransLink’s potential 2011 supplemental plan

A slide highlighting TransLink's priorities, from the presentation given to councillors and mayors on Thursday, October 7, 2010.

Yesterday, TransLink made a presentation about its future plans and possible funding sources, which has prompted quite a discussion lately. So I thought I’d take a little time to let you know where this news is coming from and what is slated to happen next.

Where did the news come from?

First, the news about the proposal came out because TransLink made a presentation to the region’s mayors and councillors on Thursday, October 7, 2010.

You can read the the full presentation here — I highly encourage you to, as it has a ton of detail—but I’ll cover some background in some bullets below.

  • First, you need to know a bit about TransLink’s long-term planning process. By law, we are required to come up with a base plan every year that states how we will operate for the next three years, plus an outlook on services for the next seven years. The first three years of this base plan must be fully funded by our current revenue streams. If we want to spend beyond this base plan—to expand, for example—we are allowed by law to come up with supplemental plans, which then must be approved by our Board, reported on by the Regional Transportation Commissioner, and approved by the Mayors’ Council. With a supplemental plan, we have to explain exactly where we’ll get our funding from, and we need to outline what we are going to spend it on.
  • So, TransLink made this presentation on Thursday to the councillors and mayors to let them know we are thinking about a possible 2011 supplemental plan to fund the Evergreen Line, North Fraser Perimeter Road Phase 1, and other projects around the region. Since we have to specify funding sources, the main vehicle suggested is property tax. As you might know, TransLink only has access to a limited number of funding sources—basically fares, fuel tax, property tax, and transfers from senior government. We’ve raised fares, fuel tax, and property tax in the past year to reach our current funding, which preserves our current system.
  • TransLink performed a detailed analysis to prioritize projects in the region, based on which ones bring us closer to our Transport 2040 goals, and which ones best fit our supplemental goals — ie: projects that would be a lost opportunity if we don’t do them now, which make best use of our resources, and more. (See page 8 of the presentation PDF for full criteria.)
  • Based on the analysis, two possible plans present themselves. Option A plans for the Evergreen Line Program and North Fraser Perimeter Road Phase 1—it would cost $31 a year per household, or $39 million annually. Option B includes the items from Option A, plus a host of other regional investments in transit, roads, and cycling—it would cost $54 a year per household, or $68 million annually. See page 15 of the presentation PDF for the full details.

Why present this now? And what are the next steps?

Why present this now? Well, by law, we have to do a public consultation on the supplemental plan, before we present it for approval to our Board later this fall. The plan then goes to review by the Regional Transportation Commissioner, and then approval by the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation afterward.

Consultation on these possible supplemental plans will start on October 15, 2010. You’ll be able to talk to our staff or answer a questionnaire about the proposed supplement at one of our Transportation Fairs. We’ll also have an online version of the questionnaire—I’ll post a link once it’s on our website.

So, that’s where we sit! Nothing’s been approved or rejected yet—we will see how the public, the Board, the Regional Transportation Commissioner, and the Mayors’ Council respond in the future.


12 Comments

  • By ben K, October 8, 2010 @ 5:48 pm

    Gordon Campbell opened his mouth a few days ago about extending SkyTrain to Langley. Does that fit into this somehow?

    Nevermind, this is more of a rhetorical question — I haven’t read the report yet. :P

    Just curious whether it was an implication of substance, or merely speculation in keeping with his government’s style of management and communication.*

    b

    (* in respect of decorum for the blog, I won’t call it “another lie”)

  • By Sean (CMBC), October 10, 2010 @ 3:16 pm

    I still remember when Bill Vander Zalm promised SkyTrain to Richmond way back in the 1980′s… It took the better part of 25 years to become reality…
    I think SkyTrain is great, BUT we simply can’t afford it! It’s sooo expensive to build… I think there must be less expensive options… Calgary & Portland run street level trains??? Why can’t we explore that type of option… Get “More bang for our bucks”!!!
    I think that more B-Line routes are necessary too… The #135 along Hastings should be a B-line. The #43 should be a full fledge B-line along 41st Ave. That planned #399 Surrey B-line is long overdue… That bus route connecting Langley and White Rock is 15 years overdue!

  • By Meraki, October 11, 2010 @ 11:16 pm

    Can’t wait for the inevitable group of people who don’t want to pay $31/year because they “don’t use transit” and fail to realise the benefits to their own commutes, even if they aren’t taking the transit themeslves.

  • By Tessa, October 11, 2010 @ 11:42 pm

    Is there any funding option that doesn’t include any new funding for new roads? Why can’t we choose to encourage just transit instead? Why can’t the money for the North Fraser Perimeter Road instead go to more buses, for instance? Or help fund the broadway rapid transit?

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, October 12, 2010 @ 12:08 pm

    Tessa: passing your question on for an answer!

  • By Gary, October 12, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

    While I support the need for more investment in public transit, it should not be at the expense of homeowners. Raising property taxes is not the answer. A more fair way to raise money is through a new gas tax or a vehicle levy. Drivers are causing greenhouse emissions and they should be encouraged to drive less. Have a look at what Diane Watts (the Surrey mayor) has to say in an article just posted on The Vancouver Sun’s website.

  • By Gary, October 12, 2010 @ 1:34 pm

    Quick correction…Diane Watts comments were in a Surrey Now article.

  • By Jhenifer Pabillano - Buzzer Editor, October 13, 2010 @ 1:57 pm

    Tessa: here is the answer from our planning team.

    TransLink is an integrated transportation authority – providing funding for all modes, not just transit.

    The North Fraser Perimeter Road has been a regional priority since 2003. It will improve the connectivity, efficiency, reliability and safety of the regional trucking network and will help relocate trucks and other traffic from residential areas in New Westminster. It also includes an important cycling connection by linking two previously disconnected bikeway segments. Transport Canada is also going to provide $65 Million towards this project if we are able to confirm our share of the funding this fall.

    How to pay for new rapid transit lines will be a discussion for another day!

Other Links to this Post

  1. Tweets that mention On Evergreen Line funding and more: TransLink’s potential 2011 supplemental plan -- Topsy.com — October 8, 2010 @ 5:45 pm

  2. The Buzzer blog » Reminder: have your say on our funding priorities and service optimization plan — October 25, 2010 @ 3:29 pm

  3. The Buzzer blog » Moving on Evergreen Line and more: an update on TransLink’s 2011 supplemental plans — November 26, 2010 @ 4:40 pm

  4. Funding the Evergreen Line - or not — November 30, 2010 @ 9:02 am

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