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Mayors confirm hike to PST could be proposed in transit referendum

NEW WESTMINSTER (NEWS1130) – In less than a week, we’ll learn more about the referendum question that will be put to Lower Mainland voters over the region’s transportation priorities.

The region’s mayors met on Friday, ahead of a vote on the actual wording of the referendum question.

In an emailed statement after the in-camera meeting, the mayors confirm that a hike in the carbon tax, an increase in the PST in the region, an annual vehicle registration fee or a combination off all three are being considered as sources of funding to get their proposed ten-year transportation plan off the ground.

Jordan Bateman with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, which has been critical of TransLink spending, believes the mayors have already decided where the money should come from.

“The mayors are playing games. They are hiding what the final wording is. Chances are, they’ve already come to a consensus. The next six days is about how they are going to spin it to the public, to try to convince us to give TransLink more money.”

He doesn’t think the people of Metro Vancouver will accept any of the funding options.

“The vehicle levy was rejected ten years ago. A sales tax increase is an ugly proposition. We just had a province-wide debate on sales taxes. An increase in the carbon tax just reinforces reliance on a failed policy.”

In order for the ten-year transit plan to be realized, the region needs to come up with $7.5 billion.