TransLink announces 2002 budget and transportation plan

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MAPLE RIDGE, B.C. — TransLink revealed its plans for the upcoming year on Monday, insisting that new funding combined with cost-cutting measures will enable it to better improve area roads.

TransLink’s 2002 Transportation Plan and Budget contains good news for road users, according to the organization’s chairman, Doug McCallum.

"Last fall, we said we could cut back service to balance the budget, or we could got for a package of transit fares, fuel tax and property tax increases to spread out the cost of stabilizing the system and keep it growing," says McCallum. "People said that cutbacks were not acceptable, which is why we got the approval for new funding."

As a result, TransLink’s funding for operating and maintaining the region’s roads, bridges and Albion Ferries will rise 13.3 per cent to $26.8 million. The organization will take in an additional $41.8 million in fuel tax revenue, thanks to a two-cent per litre hike at the pumps within the Greater Vancouver Area.

McCallum vowed the regional transit body will be much more efficient this year.

"We’ve cut $17.8 million out of our total expenditures without affecting service by cutting back on administration costs and getting aggressive about improving productivity in the transit subsidiaries," says McCallum. "We’ve approached our budgeting and planning in a way that will keep things moving ahead without having to come back for additional funding for the next three years."

Monday’s announcement is phase one of a three-year plan. In June, TransLink will reveal a new transportation plan that will cover the next two years.

"Once we have that plan done, we’ll start the bigger discussion with the region about the long term future of the transportation system, how we should improve it and how we all agree it should be paid for," says McCallum.

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