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Mary Polak wants a list of transit priorities

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Not many of you like the idea of paying more sales tax to fund transit improvements, and it seems BC’s Transportation Minister is right there with you.

In a letter to Mary Polak this week, Metro Vancouver mayors outlined five funding options, the most provocative of which is a 0.5 per cent hike to the provincial sales tax that would generate an estimated $250 million a year.

While she applauds the mayors for making progress, she feels they need to do a better job of explaining to taxpayers why the money is needed and where it would be used.

She adds the best way to do that is to outline regional priorities.

“So, for example they speak of some of the broader visioning around [the] Broadway Corridor, SkyTrain expansion in Surrey… well, we need to get down to consensus around which one would go first,” explains Polak.

The options include bringing back the vehicle registration fee, a regional carbon tax, land value capture around SkyTrain stations, and road pricing.

“It’s very difficult to evaluate any of those options, unless you’ve got some greater specificity around the type of things [the mayors] are attempting to fund in the short term, so whether the priority is in order and then also, what would the amounts be,” she continues.

The Minister is expected to meet with North Vancouver District Mayor Richard Walton, the head of the Mayors Council, next week.