Lower Mainland gas tax plan encouraging for region’s LRT plans

Vancouver-area municipalities eye two-cent-per-litre gas tax that would help pay for a rapid-transit line

  • Jul. 26, 2011 2:00 p.m.

Optimism is surging in Greater Victoria in the wake of the province’s recent promise to create a two-cent-per-litre Metro Vancouver gas tax that would help pay for a rapid-transit line there.

Members of the Victoria Regional Transit Commission say it’s a promising development as they look for ways to fund a light rail line between downtown Victoria and Langford.

“It’s encouraging,” said Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin. “It is my hope that the provincial government allows us to bring in a gas tax as soon as possible.

“That, over the next five years, will give us about $50 million,” he said. “That will (give us) a strong portion of the $250 million we need for our portion of (a partial build-out of) the LRT.”

At a June meeting between B.C.’s transportation minister and commission members, Fortin asked Blair Lekstrom that an additional 3.5 cents a litre paid at Capital Region pumps be directed into an LRT capital infrastructure reserve fund, which doesn’t yet exist.

The Victoria commission currently receives 3.5 cents a litre at the pumps to pay for transit operations.

“We’ve got to start saving for this future rail, and it’ll lessen the impact of anything we have to borrow,” Fortin said.

At the meeting, Lekstrom said he would consider a request for an additional carbon tax, and possibly a new gas tax, but “I think we have to be very careful when people talk about new revenue sources,” said Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard, who also sits on the transit commission.

Considering the cost, taxpayers should be allowed to weigh in on the issue in a November referendum, Leonard said, adding that the question can’t be developed unless the local share of the project is known.

But some Victoria residents say the gas tax is a “very prudent” approach, said Fortin, adding that motorists will also benefit from the LRT because it will reduce congestion.

The gas tax is so far the preferred choice to pay for the project since no one is in any hurry to raise municipal property taxes, said commission member and Victoria Coun. John Luton.

“Everybody’s feeling the weight of property taxes, particularly businesses – who pay a multiple of that – bristle at the idea of more (taxes) to pay for whatever transit project goes forward,” Luton said.

emccracken@vicnews.com

 

Just Posted

Number of SD62 kindergarten registrations about same as last year

Approximately 850 kindergarten registrations for 2019/2020 school year

28 years later: Dunahee disappearance remains largest investigation in Victoria police history

The four-year old Victoria boy went missing without a trace on March 24, 1991

City of Langford mails out information on sewer connection requirement

Plan lays out obligations, exemptions and financial assistance information for the costly hookup

Update: BC Transit driver taken to hospital with serious injuries after assault

Driver attempted to stop an altercation between two people on the bus

Protective human chain forms around Victoria mosque for Friday prayer

Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

POLL: When do you think the next major earthquake will hit Vancouver Island?

According to seismologists, Vancouver Island is overdue for a magnitude 7 earthquake.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of March 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

B.C. driver caught going 207 km/h on motorcycle along Okanagan Highway

A motorcyclist was caught by Kelowna RCMP going 207 km/h on Highway 97C

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

Most Read