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Category: 2010 10-Year Plan

Mayors approve funding stabilization plan

The Mayors' Council meeting this morning.

The Mayors' Council meeting this morning.

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.

(See the main TransLink planning site for more on our planning process and the full details of the plans before the mayors — this past blog post has info on the planning process too.)

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.

You can also check out these further stories about the decision in the Vancouver Sun and the Province.

Mayors’ Council meets and decides on TransLink’s 2010 plan and funding on Friday, Oct. 23

A flowchart outlining TransLink's governance structure and the roles played by the Mayors' Council and the Regional Transportation Commissioner.

A flowchart outlining TransLink's governance structure and the roles played by the Mayors' Council and the Regional Transportation Commissioner.

Just a heads up to let you know that the Mayors’ Council will be meeting in the morning on Friday, October 23, and they will be deciding on our 10-Year Plan for 2010.

The main TransLink site has the full details of the three 10-Year Plan options before the Council, plus an explanation of our planning process. (Here’s a past blog post on the planning process too.)

As you may know, there’s three plan options with distinct funding levels to choose from: an On Track plan with about $450 million of funding, a Funding Stabilization plan with $130 million, and a Drastic Cuts scenario with no new funding.

As part of our planning process, the independent Regional Transportation Commissioner has reviewed all these plans — this post has more on that — and the Friday Mayors’ Council meeting is to determine their approval for the plans.

Reporter Jeff Nagel wrote a piece today reporting that the mayors are looking at the $130 million option, so do check out his article for more on that.

And of course, on Friday I will have more info on whatever the mayors do decide and what it means for us.

BePartofthePlan update: the final consultation report, and the 10-year transportation plan

Canada Line is on its way, yay! But I just want to keep you aware of a couple of key things that are still coming down the pipe here.

Remember our BePartofthePlan process — it involved the month-long consultation in June, where we asked for your feedback on transportation plans for the next 10 years?

Well, we’ve finally collected the results of the consultation, and we’re moving forward with the 10-Year Plan process. Here’s a few new things that you might want to be aware of.

Final public consultation report is now online

Our final consultation report is now online!

It outlines how our entire consultation process worked, and summarizes the findings from our in-person meetings and our online game and forum. (At a glance: about 500 people came to our in-person events, and we had over 45,000 visits to the bepartoftheplan website. 3,000 played the “It’s Your Move” game online, and 227 people made more than 1,000 posts in 144 topics)

The main page for the consultation report can be found here. The report is 20+ pages, and also has nine appendixes of reports and other content for you to read.

First steps: the Board approves our 10-Year Plans

Last week, the Board approved the 2010 10-year base plan and two supplemental plans as submitted by TransLink.

Our governing law now requires a review of these plans by the Transportation Commissioner, and then approval by the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation by the end of October.

If no supplemental plan is approved by the Mayors’ Council by October 31st, 2009, the base plan will be implemented immediately.

Okay, now let’s back up a bit so I can explain what this means!

Every year, TransLink is required to come up with a 10-Year Transportation and Financial Plan by law. We must come up with a base plan as our default, and it has to be fully funded by our current resources.

If we’d like to go beyond the base plan, to stave off cuts or even expand, we are allowed by law to come up with supplemental plans. And again, we have to explain exactly where we’ll get our funding from.

So you can actually check out our 2010 10-Year Plan page to read the exact details of these plans. This is what we consulted about during June, and these are the plans your feedback contributed to. (Check out this PDF to see a quick overview of all 3 plans.)

The base plan forecasts drastic cuts: since we don’t actually have a lot of money on hand, we can’t pay for very much service. Here’s a summary, and the base plan in specific.

Of the two supplemental plans, one is aimed at keep us at the current level of service: that’s the one called “Funding Stabilization,” and it increases our current revenue streams roughly $130 million or so, to just cover the funding gap. Here’s the details of that plan.

The other plan, called “On Track,” aims to build toward our region’s Transport 2040 goals. It plans for funding up to $275 million to do modest expansion, through boosting current revenue streams and adding a transportation improvement fee. It also has room to expand up to $450 million, but this would require future funding sources outside our current revenue streams, and those new sources would need approval from the Province. Here is the summary of this plan, and the full details.

If it helps, Jeff Nagel has a pretty good summary over at the Tri-City News. Kelly Sinoski at the Vancouver Sun also has some useful coverage.

Hope this all helps you understand the planning process a bit better!

BePartofthePlan consultation: What we have heard so far

So our BePartofthePlan consultation period ends on June 30, but I thought you might be interested in what we’ve heard so far.

Check out minutes and comments from our in-person community consultations—they’re on the community workshop page of the TransLink website, but I’ll also post them here:

Minutes and comments are coming soon from this week’s workshops in Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, and Richmond: keep an eye on the community workshop page for those.

We’ll also have summaries of the online discussions and game once those sections of the consultation are complete.

Remember, as of June 30, we’ll be turning off the It’s Your Move game and winding down forum discussion – so if you haven’t tried the game or posted in the forums yet, do it soon!

The old site

Also, as you might recall, before we launched this site on June 1, there was another version of BePartofthePlan.ca that invited your comments.

Well, that old site didn’t just disappear. You can still visit the archived version here: bepartoftheplan.fcvhost.com.

We read through every single comment and made sure to capture all of your feedback from the old site, too. If you’re curious, here’s the summaries of all the suggestions you guys gave to us.

One week left for the BePartofthePlan discussions

Just wanted to send out another reminder to join in our BePartofthePlan discussions and give us your thoughts on the region’s transportation future.

The consultation period closes on June 30, so you have one more week to send in your feedback as of today.

There’s a few key ways to talk to us:

  • First, play It’s Your Move online, which is our consultation exercise/game. Pick transport priorities for the region, choose your preferred existing funding options, and rank the future funding options we should pursue.
  • You can also visit our consultation discussion boards. Answer the “sticky” questions I’ve posted in each forum, and feel free to post your own discussion topics too.
  • Or come to one of our in-person consultation forums this week. Our CEO Tom Prendergast will be at all three of the events, so you can talk to him about your questions and concerns. Plus you’ll get to play the “It’s Your Move” game in small groups. Here are the dates and locations of the forums:
      Monday, June 22, 2009
      6:30PM – 9:00PM
      Evergreen Cultural Centre
      1205 Pinetree Way
      Coquitlam, BC

      Tuesday, June 23, 2009
      6:30PM – 9:00PM
      ACT Centre
      11944 Haney Place
      Maple Ridge, BC

      Wednesday, June 24, 2009
      6:30PM – 9:00PM
      Richmond Cultural Centre
      180-7700 Minoru Gate
      Richmond, BC

Again, check out our BePartofthePlan consultation website for more on the in-person events, including maps and tentative schedules for each meeting.

(If you can’t make it, you might follow Ken Hardie’s Twitter — he’s going to the events and tweeting about what’s going on there.)

After the consultation period is over, your thoughts are collected and reflected in our plans, which are then presented for approval to our Board by August 1, as well as the Regional Transportation Commissioner and the Mayors’ Council.

And finally, if you’re curious, here are the Buzzer blog’s past posts discussing the 10-Year Plan.

10-Year Plan workshops in Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Richmond, June 22-24

There are three 10-Year Plan workshops coming up next week — come by if you can!

Monday, June 22, 2009
6:30PM – 9:00PM
Evergreen Cultural Centre
1205 Pinetree Way
Coquitlam, BC

Tuesday, June 23, 2009
6:30PM – 9:00PM
ACT Centre
11944 Haney Place
Maple Ridge, BC

Wednesday, June 24, 2009
6:30PM – 9:00PM
Richmond Cultural Centre
180-7700 Minoru Gate
Richmond, BC

At the workshops, you’ll play the It’s Your Move board game with others and select your transportation priorities and funding options for our future. (You can play the game online too.) And you’ll be able to discuss our draft 10-Year Plan, plus ask our executives and public consultation staff about our budgets and other issues.

Check out our BePartofthePlan consultation website for more information on these events, including maps and tentative schedules for each meeting.

Also, for more info, here’s the Buzzer blog’s past posts discussing the 10-Year Plan.

And you also might want to follow Ken Hardie’s Twitter too — he’s going to the events and tweeting about what’s going on there!

10-Year Plan workshops in White Rock tonight, Burnaby tomorrow, North Van Thursday

Yikes—in all the Chicago/Golden Ears excitement I have been remiss in reminding you guys about the 10-Year Plan workshops in your area! So here’s the next three workshops:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009
6:30PM – 9:00PM
White Rock Community Centre
15154 Russell Ave.
White Rock, BC

Wednesday, June 17, 2009
6:30PM – 9:00PM
Fire Fighters Centre
6515 Bonsor St.
Burnaby, BC

Thursday, June 18, 2009
6:30PM – 9:00PM
Lonsdale Quay Hotel
123 Carrie Cates Court
North Vancouver, BC

At the workshops, you’ll play the It’s Your Move board game with others and select your transportation priorities and funding options for our future. (You can play the game online too.) And you’ll be able to discuss our draft 10-Year Plan, plus ask our executives and public consultation staff about our budgets and other issues.

Check out our BePartofthePlan consultation website for more information on these events, including maps and tentative schedules for each meeting.

Also, for more info, here’s the Buzzer blog’s past posts discussing the 10-Year Plan.

You also might want to follow Ken Hardie’s Twitter too — he’s going to the events and tweeting about what’s going on there!

Reminder: Get your feedback in at BePartofthePlan!

Just want to keep reminding you to go over to BePartofthePlan.ca and give us your thoughts on the 10-Year Plan options we’re presenting.

The consultation period closes on June 30, so you have 22 days to get your thoughts in as of today.

There’s two key ways to give us your feedback:

  • First, play It’s Your Move, our consultation exercise/game. Pick transport priorities for the region, choose your preferred existing funding options, and rank the future funding options we should pursue!
  • Then, if you want to talk more, visit our consultation discussion boards. Answer the “sticky” questions I’ve posted in each forum, and feel free to post your own discussion topics too.

Some perspective: transit funding challenges in other places


View United States of Transit Cutbacks in a larger map

I came across this map a while back and thought it would be interesting to share.

It shows proposed transit cuts in 94 American communities, put together by the Transportation for America advocacy group from media reports and online coverage.

Here’s the legend:

  • Yellow = Service Cuts
  • Green = Fare Increases
  • Purple = Service Cuts and Fare Increases
  • Red = Service Cuts and Job Losses
  • Turquoise = Fare Increases and Job Losses
  • $$ = Service Cuts, Job Losses, and Fare Increases.

(Transportation for America also has more data from this map in its transit cuts section.)

Now, the analogy between TransLink and these American communities is by no means perfect. We have a unique structure with many dedicated revenue sources that other communities do not enjoy, and our transportation mandate and spending histories are different from many agencies.

But it’s still worthwhile to point out that many agencies are struggling with the cost of funding their services even as ridership increases, and are grasping at funding mechanisms like fare increases to meet their costs. (Mass Transit magazine has a good article explaining the transit funding “paradox.”)

It also shows that to keep systems running, transit agencies are often forced to make service cuts, much like the drastic cuts TransLink will be forced to make if we have no new funding. (We do have scenarios for mid-level investment and maximal investment too, never fear!)

Closer to home, an article in the Toronto Star today discusses the funding challenges facing Metrolinx, the regional transportation agency in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

Which is all to say that these transportation funding challenges that face TransLink and our region today are challenges present elsewhere too. The cost of transportation is high. And we need you to weigh in at BePartofthePlan.ca so you can have a say in how much we invest in our transportation future, how we should pay for it, and what that transportation future should look like.

Okay, serious talk over! More Buzzer blog fun stuff soon :)

BePartofthePlan.ca relaunches for our 10-Year plan consultation

Hey everyone: we’ve relaunched BePartofthePlan.ca, our online consultation website!

As I explained before, BePartofthePlan.ca was scheduled for a June relaunch, to coincide with the release of our draft 10-Year Plan.

So now, as of June 1, BePartofthePlan.ca is all about public consultation for that 10-Year Plan, which lays out the first steps to reaching Transport 2040, the region’s transportation strategy for the next 30 years.

Be warned now: all throughout June, I’m going to harp on about how important your feedback is in this consultation. The decisions we’re making in this 10-Year Plan are about the future of our region and its continuing liveability. It’s so important that you weigh in!

But keep in mind that the public consultation runs from June 1 to June 30 only, so please visit the discussion boards, try the online consultation exercise, or come to an in-person event to give us your thoughts!

Here’s a little more about the site and its new content and features.

Read more »

Livability Forum kicks off public consultation on our 10-Year Plan

A group at the Livability Forum plays It's Your Move, the consultation exercise board game.

A group at the Livability Forum plays It's Your Move, the consultation exercise board game.

We held a Livability Forum this morning in downtown Vancouver, launching our consultation on our proposed 10-Year Plan!

The 10-Year Plan outlines the first steps we’ll be taking toward Transport 2040, our region’s 30-year transportation strategy. (We’ll be consulting on it from June 1-30, so please come to our in-person events or visit BePartofthePlan.ca to contribute!)

At the forum, we got a huge group of people in Metro Vancouver together to talk about the related transportation and liveability challenges facing our region. Plus, we heard from experts on similar challenges in other major cities.

And at the end, we got everyone to do a consultation exercise—a board game activity called “It’s Your Move,” that lets you plan and select funding for our region’s transportation priorities.

You can try the board game online, too, at our newly relaunched BePartofthePlan.ca site. (I’ll have more on the new site in a bit.)

Here’s a few more details about what we did today, including details of our draft 10-Year Plan and the financing options available to us, and PowerPoints from all the talks given!

(By the way, this event was originally called the Transportation Forum— I talked about it in May.)

Read more »

Tom Prendergast editorial in the Vancouver Sun

Just a quick note: our CEO Tom Prendergast has an editorial in the Vancouver Sun today. It’s another good introduction to our transportation challenges in the future and the tough decisions our region faces in the near future. Here’s a quote from the end:

Over the last 30 years this region has made some very wise transportation and growth management decisions to achieve a quality of life that is the envy of the world. But making those choices work in the long run means we’ll have to follow through with alternatives to the freeways we haven’t built.

That’s why we’re now considering an important decision. Having already set our course, do we move our transportation network forward now or allow it to be overtaken by our future growth and development? There are costs involved with either decision that will be difficult to cover, but I submit only one decision maintains the quality of life we enjoy.

I am confident, trusting and hopeful that the decisions the people of the Metro Vancouver region make today around that question will serve us all for the next 30 years.

We all have a stake — and a choice –in the answer.

FYI, Tom also spoke to the Vancouver Sun editorial board a while back, and the Sun has video of Tom explaining the transportation challenges in our region.

Come to TransLink’s Transportation Forum on service and funding options on June 1

Hey everyone: you’re invited to a Transportation Forum we’re hosting on Monday, June 1!

Here’s the location and time:
Waterfront Ballroom,
at the Fairmont Waterfront Hotel
900 Canada Place Way, Vancouver BC
8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
(registration and breakfast)
9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (presentations and discussion)

Please register online to attend this event: space is limited!

A chance to review TransLink’s draft 2010 10-Year Transportation and Financial Plan

The public, key TransLink stakeholders and user groups are all invited to this forum. It’s an opportunity for you to review, comment and discuss TransLink’s draft 2010 10-Year Transportation and Financial Plan.

As of right now, this plan is currently being developed, and is being done after much consultation with stakeholders, local government and the public on the goals and values identified in Transport 2040, as well as the challenges and opportunities we face in the development of this 2010 10-Year Plan.

You can read more about Transport 2040 and the transportation challenges facing our region at BePartofthePlan.ca.

Four transportation experts will share their advice

Four experts from New York City, the San Francisco Bay area, and Toronto will be at the forum to talk about how they are responding to similar transportation issues in their regions. They are:

  • Petra Todorovich – Director of America 2050 – a national urban infrastructure and growth strategy planning initiative in the United States.
  • Robert Yaro – President of the Regional Plan Association – America’s oldest independent metropolitan policy, research and advocacy group. Bob will be speaking about New York City’s sustainability plan and the progress being made toward achieving that city’s transportation goals.
  • John Howe – General Manager for investment strategy and projects with Metrolinx – formerly the Greater Toronto Transit Authority
  • Steve Heminger – Executive Director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission – the regional transportation planning and finance agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area.

As well, our CEO Tom Prendergast will be speaking about TransLink’s progress and plans. (If you haven’t seen it yet, Tom has a video over at the Vancouver Sun, where he discusses our future challenges.)

Remember to register online to attend, as space is limited!

What if I can’t make it to this forum?

Don’t worry, you can still weigh in.

In June, nine community workshops will be held at locations throughout Metro Vancouver, so you can discuss and comment on the draft 2010 10-Year Transportation and Financial Plan.

(We’ll be in Vancouver, Langley, Surrey, White Rock, Burnaby, North Vancouver, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, and Richmond: here’s the full list of times and dates.)

The workshops are 2.5 hours long and will also explain what challenges and opportunities we face in the future, plus what TransLink has been doing over the past 10 years. You can register for those nine workshops already too!

And if you can’t make those either, BePartofthePlan.ca will continue to host an online discussion to get your feedback.

As mentioned before, we’re going to revamp that site with all the info about the 2010 10-Year draft plan in June, plus resources from the community workshops to help you learn about the challenges we face in the future. So you’ll be able to examine everything online and bring us your thoughts.

Hope to see you out at the forum, one of the workshops, or at the online discussion!

TransLink CEO talks about our 10-Year Plan with the Vancouver Sun

Our CEO Tom Prendergast, speaking with the Vancouver Sun editorial board.

Our CEO Tom Prendergast, speaking with the Vancouver Sun editorial board, which you can see in this video.

Our CEO Tom Prendergast went down to talk to the Vancouver Sun editorial board not long ago, and the paper has just put up a video of his talk on their website.

I highly recommend you see the video if you’re interested in our region’s transportation future and you’re not familiar with the issues. Tom does a really good explanation of the long-term plans TransLink is required to come up with, the funding crisis we currently face, and how we’re trying to make informed investments so that we can best manage transportation for the region in the future.

And you can find out more on the issues Tom talks about on the BePartofthePlan website, our discussion site for our current regional transportation plan.

Be Part of the Plan: join our discussion site about our transportation future

Check it out, yo—we’ve launched a new discussion website at BePartofthePlan.ca!

The website is basically the starting point for a conversation about our shared transportation future. Starting Friday, you’ll start seeing ads promoting the site in the media and on transit.

We’re encouraging everyone to visit BePartofthePlan.ca, learn about the six transport goals our region has set for the next 30 years, and let us know your thoughts on transportation issues.

Your thoughts and feedback will help shape the upcoming 10-year plan for 2010. And after a draft of that 10-year plan is released in June, we’ll continue the online discussion to get your thoughts on the plan’s details. A final version will then be put together for approval by the end of the year. (Here’s an explanation of the difference between all these plans!)

And I’m actually going to help moderate discussions over at BePartofthePlan.ca, so I’ll be splitting my time between that site and the Buzzer blog for the next little while. (Don’t worry though, I’m not abandoning the Buzzer blog!)

A note on the discussion topics, and the site

One of the ads you might see on transit in the next while.

One of the ads you might see on transit in the next while.

There are six discussion topics right now, to get you started thinking about each of the goals.

But every week or so, we’ll update the site with new topics to discuss. If there’s a topic you think should be up there, feel free to suggest it.

Also, we know this website isn’t the most perfect way to conduct this conversation, and we welcome your comments to improve it.

The site will be tweaked as we go along, and there will be a bigger redesign for the June discussion, so make sure you let us know exactly what you think.

Join in!

So I’m really encouraging you to visit BePartofthePlan.ca and talk with us! We want to hear from you, and your thoughts will really help us develop a transport plan that reflects your needs and values. I hope to see you all there!