July 2, 2015, 10:05 am
Elections BC announced the results of the Metro Vancouver Transportation and Transit Plebiscite today.
The results were that voters were not in favour of the 0.5% sales tax increase to fund transit expansion and increased service in the region.
While the outcome isn’t what we hoped for, we respect the decision of voters.
We will be live streaming a press conference with interim CEO Doug Allen on Periscope for Twitter (@TransLinkBC) at 12pm today from Waterfront station. Tune in and join the conversation.
Here is a statement from Doug Allen.
Today, Elections BC reported that 61.68% of voters rejected a 0.5% PST increase to fund the transportation improvements outlined in the Mayors’ Plan.
We are disappointed, but we respect the decision of voters and the fact that a majority do not support the proposed tax as the way to meet the transportation needs of a growing population.
The Premier decided to hold a plebiscite on funding to meet the transportation needs of Metro Vancouver.
And the Mayors responded by creating a well thought-out investment plan for better transit and transportation.
They did a great job of explaining the plan to citizens and defending the need for a tax in order to fund it.
The people of this region were asked to make a two-part decision: 1) Does the 10-year plan make sense; and 2) is the half-a-percent sales tax warranted?
In talking to hundreds of people over the course of the plebiscite, what we heard — especially from the younger generation — was support for:
- More public transit
- The good service we provide
- The plan put forward by the Mayors
But convincing people to vote for a tax increase is a tough sell, even when it will pay for much-needed transit and transportation improvements.
Our region expects to welcome over one million new residents over the next 30 years. A “no” vote doesn’t change the fact that our current transportation system will be challenged by this growth.
With no new funding, we will have no capacity to expand the transit system or provide increased service. Costs and customer demand will rise at a time when funding is essentially frozen. As a result, current service levels may be affected and we could face tough decisions in the weeks and months ahead.
Respected independent experts and analysts repeatedly point to TransLink’s record of cost efficiency and sound financial management. We will continue to earn that reputation by cutting costs and maximizing revenue opportunities wherever we can.
The need for funding has not gone away and we expect that the search for an acceptable source of regional funding will continue.
In the months ahead, we will work with the Province, the Mayors’ Council, our customers and the public to find a way to fund much-needed transit for our rapidly growing region.
Our commitment to running a safe and reliable transit and transportation system remains as strong as ever.
Although it ended with a no outcome, the plebiscite started a good debate across the region on the importance of transit. That debate will continue.
Thank you to everyone who participated.
Interim CEO, TransLink
You can view the press conference from noon today at Waterfront station here:
Author: Adrienne Coling