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Richmond townhall highlights transit service shortfalls

RICHMOND (NEWS1130) – People calling into a Richmond phone-in townhall say service in their city is a major concern when it comes to transit.

The city needs the transit infrastructure for many reasons according to Mayor Malcolm Brodie, who admitted more lines going east-west are a priority.

There is certainly an economic cost to doing nothing, and there is an economic cost to the kind of congestion that we can attract if we don’t do the right things now. So I am certainly supportive of the plebiscite. I believe the vision is the right way to go,” he explains.

“Our environment and our quality of life depends on it. There is an economic aspect of the job situation, getting people to and from their work and for the employers to be able to be able to hire them and just the cost of congestion and having a reliable, convenient system.”

One of the concerns addressed was about TransLink’s ability to manage the funds appropriately and questioned whether the transit authority can actually provide the promised upgrades.

“Yes there are concerns about TransLink but voting no won’t fix those concerns, voting no will have real consequences in lack of transit and transportation and more congestion,” says Irene Lanzinger with the BC Federation of Labour. “We need to keep our workers and goods moving as our communities grow.”

“Congestion costs the regional economy one billion dollars and that will double to two billion if we don’t act. Doing nothing will cost us far more than this small 35 cents a day investment towards better transportation and transit,” she explains.

She adds a “Yes” vote means more buses, more SkyTrain’s, less pollution, and less congestion and we aren’t sure what a “No” vote means, but we do know we won’t get all of that because the revenue to fund those things is coming from the tax.

The town hall ended with results from a poll conducted during the event. 34 per cent say they will vote “Yes.” 24 per cent say they will vote “Yes” with some concern. 14 per cent are undecided and 28 per cent say they are voting “No.”

The mail-in ballot on the proposed transit tax needs to be returned by May 29th.

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