Current Events Class Presentation

Mayors okay TransLink tax hike on heap of faith

Starting in April of 2012, an extra two-cent-per-litre TransLink gas tax will be added onto drivers of Metro Vancouver’s weight.  On Friday October 7th, 2011, Mayors of the Metro Vancouver gathered at a meeting in Burnaby to vote on the new gas tax plan. The tax plan is to add 2 cents more to the gas taxes.  Sixteen mayors approved and six mayors opposed to this plan.  The plan passed with an 81 to 34 majority, representing 70 percent of the population’s majority.  The money from the tax is meant to help accommodate the costs for the $1.4-billion Evergreen line to Coquitlam project, which was delayed for a long time. Along with the Evergreen line project, they also ensured upgrades on the RapidBus service, the White Rock-Langley bus route, the B-Line express bus route and many SkyTrain stations. Besides those, they also promised more constant SeaBus runs and an increase in bus services.  Adding another 2 cents in the tax is not the full deal, there would be more new fees coming around the corner, such as an annual vehicle levy or road pricing transportation improvement fee to help fund these projects.  After the new hike is legislated, the construction for the Evergreen Line would likely start next year.

Critique

This article greatly revolves around many of our lives because gas makes up a great deal of our expenses. It may seem that adding 2 cents to the gas tax is not a lot, but it adds up. An average car would need around 50 litres of gas, but now that 2 cents is added per litre, it would cost another dollar for gas. Right now, taxes in gas take up around 40 cents per litre in the total cost of gas per litre. Adding that up, that would be more than $20 just for tax. Many of us cannot survive without a car, thus we have to pay this extra tax. The idea of the tax is quite ironic too. The people that use cars, but don’t need transit are now being taxed for transit. Not to mention, it would take years to finally fund this $1.4 billion.

This article shows how laws on public transit are made at the municipal government level. Taxes, Loans, and fees are also under the control of the municipal government. Depending on whether a district or a city is involved, in this case the district of Metro Vancouver, the new law would be announced, and then the mayors of each city (or the people involved) would gather. The mayors gathered, would vote whether to pass or kill the law. This system of voting is a democratic system, although regular citizens do not get a say in the vote. I don’t think it is very democratic due to the public already voted down HST, now they are adding another tax.

Questions:

What do you think of municipalities making new taxes and fees specifically to build a project like Evergreen line?

Do you think the municipalities and TransLink should have found that money themselves instead of using our money?

Do you think people would stop using their cars because of this new tax?

What do you think of the idea of getting rid of the HST and then after adding a new gas tax?

Citation 

Nagel, Jeff. “Mayors okay TransLink tax hike on heap of faith.” Surrey: BlackPress Digital, aaaaaaaWeb. 23 Oct 2011. <http://www.surreyleader.com/news/131346338.html&gt;.

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