One million new residents are expected to move into our region over the next 25 years, but currently we have no means of funding transit and transportation expansion.
The transit plebiscite offers a solution to build the transit and transportation infrastructure we need to support our economy and cut commute times on average by 20-30 minutes a day for most transit riders and drivers, and improve service, our economy and our environment - no matter where you live in Metro Vancouver.
Do you support a new 0.5% Metro Vancouver Congestion Improvement Tax, to be dedicated to the Mayors’ Transportation and Transit Plan?
March 16 to May 29, 2015. All registered voters in the region will receive a mail-in ballot starting March 16. Voters will have until May 29 to mail in their ballot.
The revenue generated (about $250 million a year) will be used to fund the projects outlined in the Mayors’ Council Plan. The money collected will be subject to audits and monitoring by an independent panel, headed by Vancouver businessman and philanthropist Jimmy Pattinson, with results made public annually. This will ensure that the money collected will go only to the items in the plan. The funds generated will not become general revenue for TransLink.
The average household in the region will pay less than 35 cents per day, or about $125 a year to support dramatic transit and transportation improvements.
A YES vote will mean dramatically improved transportation and transit for the region, including three light rail lines from Surrey Centre to Guilford and Langley; 11 new B-Line rapid bus routes, 400 new buses, 80 per cent more night buses, increased HandyDART for people with disabilities, a new, safer Pattullo Bridge and a new Vancouver subway – the list goes on.
These improvements would mean 70 per cent of Metro Vancouver residents will live within five minutes of fast, frequent transit service. The number of people living within 400 metres of rapid transit will increase dramatically, from 26 per cent to 60 per cent in the Tri-Cities. Congestion costs will fall by 33 per cent over the next 30 years.
A No vote does not mean things will stay the same. It means significantly more congestion and problems with transit service as one million more people move to the region by 2040 and bring with them 500,000 more cars. Vancouver is already the second most congested city in North America, after Los Angeles.
The economic impact of congestion is at least $1 billion a year, increasing to $2 billion by 2040 if we do nothing.
Voting No will not fix TransLink. Having less money per rider will make it more difficult to provide good service. It is the equivalent of cutting police funding during a crime outbreak.
Congestion does not respect municipal boundaries. One of the reasons the Mayors’ Plan has such widespread support is that it contains benefits for every city, from the North Shore to Richmond to Maple Ridge. Take a look at the breakdowns available at http://mayorscouncil.ca/transportation-investments/ to learn about the specific improvements coming to your community.
One million more people are coming here regardless of the vote’s outcome. A No vote will leave us with increased traffic, economic losses, reduced transit service, and no foreseeable solution. The business community, unions, environmental groups, the health sector and students all agree that voting YES is the best way to move forward to ensure a livable and prosperous region. They are voting YES for a stronger economy, more jobs, less pollution and better health.
The regional sales tax, which will be built into the existing PST, will cost an average household about 35 cents per day. All current PST-exempt items will continue to be exempt from this tax, including groceries, children’s clothes, etc. A sales tax ensures everyone who benefits from our transportation system, including businesses and visitors to the region, will contribute to the system’s maintenance and expansion.
Funding the investments through a sales tax increase is the most affordable option for the average household.
We’re letting people know what’s in the Mayors’ Plan and how it will benefit them, their families and their communities. We’re encouraging people to volunteer, donate to the campaign and make sure they encourage their networks and families to vote YES.
The new tax would not kick in until 2016 but many of the bus projects (B-Line and more frequent service) would likely begin before the first dollar is even paid. Projects in the plan are to be completed within 12 years. The light rail projects would begin by year five and the plan for the new Pattullo Bridge would be ready by fall 2015.
There is no Plan B. If the plebiscite fails there will be no new transit or transportation projects for many years. With population growth and no new funding, transit service will get worse and roads will become more congested. It will be up to the provincial government to address this problem.