Vehicle levy back on the table

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VANCOUVER, B.C. — TransLink’s proposed vehicle levy, which came under fire and was killed by the previous B.C. government, could become a reality after all.

But instead of being pegged at $75 as it was originally, the levy could be more than twice that much now, to help pay for a proposed subway line from Vancouver to Richmond.

Ray Straatsma, policy director for Better Environmentally Sound Transportation (BEST) says the proposed subway line will cost $1 billion more than an above ground light rail line. He points out that the Liberal government may re-instate the vehicle levy, especially since TransLink chief Ken Dobell is expected to take a senior role in the Liberal cabinet.

Straatsma says that Greater Vancouver regional district’s board of governors should consult the public before going ahead with the controversial vehicle levy.

“What should be recognized is the cost implications,” Straatsma told the board on Friday. “Are this board and the TransLink board prepared to go to the taxpayer and say, ‘This is going to cost you not just the $75 vehicle levy, but another $80 to build one system in one sector for one route?’ That’s what the public should know, the real cost.”

The B.C. Liberals will be announcing their cabinet, including the new Highways and Transportation Minister, tomorrow.

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