Last night’s webinar on the 2012 Base Plan and Supplemental Plan was chock-full of useful information and questions on the maintenance and improvements to our region’s transportation network. I’ve posted the webinar for you to watch above, but the best way to watch the webinar is via our provider’s web page, which not only has the above video but also the accompanying slides that the presenters reference throughout the webinar. After a slight false start at the beginnning, TransLink CEO, Ian Jarvis; Program Manager, Geoff Cross; and Manager of Corporate Communications, Erin McConnell, launched into a quick video followed by a presentation on the Base Plan. Ian and Geoff took questions on the plan before getting into specifics on the ‘Moving Forward’ Supplemental Plan.
One interesting question that followed the Base Plan presentation was about the option of accepting outside funding for improvements to SkyTrain stations and bus service (private sector, developers, etc.). Ian answered that TransLink has done this for the Gateway SkyTrain Station on the Expo Line and the future Canada Line station known as the Capstan Way Station.
The presentation on the ‘Moving Forward’ Supplemental Plan focused on the additional revenues needed for upgrades and expansion of the transportation system. In 30 years, there will some significant changes to the region. This includes an approximate increase in population of a million more people, an aging population, as well as higher fuel prices and changes to travel patters. For more info on the plan, you can read up on Transport 2040 (where the goals for the Supplemental Plan) or get more specifics on the Supplemental Plan itself.
We had a few questions asking why everyone should pay for transit if not everyone uses transit. Ian’s answer in a nutshell is that everyone benefits from a good transportation system (TransLink looks after the Major Road Network, buses, SkyTrain and cycling routes, remember). There was also a question about the impact that the Evergreen Line would have on the West Coast Express. Geoff answered that the two lines serve different purposes. People who want to go directly to downtown will continue to take the West Coast Express, while those who wish to connect to the system could jump on the Evergreen Line. The last question we received last night, was regarding what would happen if the Supplemental Plan is not approved. Ian informed the listeners that TransLink does have stable funding to maintain the existing service through the money allotted to TransLink in the Base Plan, but with an increasing population and other future challenges, there would be a cost in terms of service provided if the Supplemental Plan is not approved.
For the big picture on all of this, do take a bit of time to watch or listen to the webinar. I am collecting you questions that you’ve posted on my last blog post, and with your patience, I will try my best to get some answers.