LANGLEY, B.C. - The British Columbia Trucking Association has come out on the offensive against a consultation process for TransLink's $400,000 Strategic Transportation Plan, claiming that it's meant ...
LANGLEY, B.C. – The British Columbia Trucking Association has come out on the offensive against a consultation process for TransLink’s $400,000 Strategic Transportation Plan, claiming that it’s meant more to promote the financing of the public transit system.
Two weeks ago, TransLink distributed a fax and phone survey that outlines 13 financing options, eight of which include a vehicle levy, four require the support of another level of government (such as higher fuel taxes), and one that involves an increase in property taxes in the Greater Vancouver region.
The survey is “complex and confusing, particularly for residents who telephone the automated TransLink feedback number,” the BCTA says in a release. Those responding to the survey need to rate all of the options, whether or not they understand or agree with them. Those callers who give more than one option the same rank are disconnected.
“Since TransLink cannot unilaterally increase fuel taxes or draw on federal funds, and the public cannot register their rejection of new or increased taxes, TransLink will feel justified in only seriously considering vehicle levies or increased property taxes. The availability of eight different vehicle levy options compared to the single property tax option will probably skew the results in favor of a vehicle levy,” says Paul Landry, CEO of the BCTA. “When all the results are in, TransLink will probably add up all of the vehicle levy options and compare those with the single property tax option. This survey can’t help but result in TransLink finding that the public supports some form of vehicle tax.”
The association says it would rather have the survey allow people to select one or more options, and oppose new or higher taxes without having to rank the 13 different options.
“This form of consulting may fulfill TransLink’s needs, but is by no means designed to serve the public,” Landry says. n
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