Look at other LRT funding options

Municipal politicians never say more taxes are a good idea, but when it comes to buying something we can’t yet afford, the predictable tax hike comes along

Municipal politicians never say more taxes are a good idea, but when it comes to buying something we can’t yet afford, the predictable tax hike comes along.

Light rail transit is a good idea, but at nearly a billion dollars, it’s expensive. Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin figures a new gas tax is a good way to help pay for it.

We’re lucky that shovels haven’t started digging, otherwise Capital Region residents would likely be forking over more tax dollars to help finance rail between the West Shore and Victoria.

Before decisions are made on how the region’s 13 municipalities will finance their portion, all options need to be put on the table and given serious scrutiny.

In an ideal world, taxing individual transportation should encourage more transit use, but that’s not the reality. Only a small fraction of the current regional population will be directly served by the proposed LRT route, so that incentive won’t work.

Outside of Fortin suggesting we follow Metro Vancouver’s lead (a new two-cent-per-litre gas tax will help pay for the Evergreen Skytrain line), there are other ways to finance LRT that must be considered.

B.C. Conservative leader John Cummins suggests Metro Vancouver municipalities tighten their budgets by one per cent to finance the Evergreen line. Municipal politicians may scoff at the suggestion, but there is merit in looking at an alternative to yet another tax.

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts’ suggestion that financing come from sponsors buying naming rights to a transit station seems out there, but viable. (The “Save-On-Foods” Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre Station has a great ring to it.)

Asking taxpayers to carry an even larger portion of the bill is indicative of municipal politicians who aren’t thinking creatively.

A tax increase may ultimately be needed to help fund light rail, but the region has time to look at other ways to pay for such a significant and expensive project.


Just Posted

The shores will not rock in 2019

Atomique Productions announce Rock the Shores festival will not return in 2019, future is uncertain

Video shows logging operation on disputed Saturna Island land

Tsawout First Nation members opposed to logging on reserve land

Family still searching for missing Langford man two weeks after disappearance

Family hopeful he is alive, offering $10,000 reward

Victoria police concerned about missing man’s well-being

Delmer was reported missing on March 19

Fracking, economy, climate at centre of Green Party town hall in Metchosin

Green Party leader Elizabeth May and local candidate David Merner take questions from community

Victoria hosts ‘Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave’

The hockey cave was recently featured on a Netflix special

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

Fire crews battle large blaze at Courtenay hostel

Courtenay Fire Chief Don Bardonnex said nobody was injured

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

Most Read