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TransLink faces tough crowds

LANGLEY, B.C. - There's still hope that a fuel tax increase to help bail out TransLink could be defeated, as the transit body has given the public two options to choose from.The first consists of cutt...

LANGLEY, B.C. – There’s still hope that a fuel tax increase to help bail out TransLink could be defeated, as the transit body has given the public two options to choose from.

The first consists of cutting transit services and road projects, including the proposed Fraser River Bridge.

The second consists of raising property taxes, transit fares and a two-cent per litre fuel tax.

TransLink recently hit the road, visiting communities to see which option will get support. But recently in Langley TransLink representatives were met by an angry mob in no mood for tax increases of any kind.

Still, Pitt Meadows Mayor Don MacLean, who represents Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge and Port Coquitlam on the TransLink board, says he’d like to see the second option get the nod. And he’s threatening to resign if others don’t agree.

“I would immediately resign,” says MacLean. “I’m not interested in my region running a system that doesn’t work.” He does, however, admit he’ll vote for option one if that’s what the majority of residents demand.

“I don’t think you can necessarily say it will be option two,” says MacLean. “It could well be option one and the result of that would be the government would get the system back. If option one happens, you will see the entire restructuring of TransLink.”

The transportation authority is trying to recover from a $50 million budget shortfall for 2002.

TransLink’s travelling circus of representatives aren’t being warmly welcomed either as they tour the Greater Vancouver Area pleading for help.

The tour visited North Vancouver at the end of October, to once again tout their two options for overcoming a funding shortfall. But, the crowd there was no more welcoming than in Langley.

West Vancouver resident, Derrick Humphreys, blasted “You should have foreseen this deficit five years ago.” The audience applauded as he said the board members present were not elected to make “these kinds of decisions.”

Liz James, chair of the Coalition for Accountability in Government Enterprises says “I am not in favor of giving TransLink any more money until you get your act together. We don’t mind paying but we want and need, to know how you’re spending the money, who is spending the money and what you are spending the money on.”

North Vancouver resident Sue Cook joined in the action, saying “What bottomless pit has the (current fare) increase gone into?”

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