The Pattullo Bridge connecting Surrey with New Westminster is 80 years old and needs replacing (Photo: Surrey Now-Leader)

Mayors’ Council confirms opposition to referendum on 10-year regional transportation plan

Referendum would delay urgent work needed to reduce congestion in Metro Vancouver, the council says

The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation confirmed its opposition Thursday to using a referendum to complete the region’s 10-year transportation plan and is calling on the next provincial government to consider funding its next phases through the provincial transfer tax and school property tax.

The council was responding to the BC Liberal’s plan to force a referendum on new sources for funding if the party is elected to government again on May 9.

One Thursday the mayors’ council adopted a resolution saying it “remains opposed to, and will not participate in, a second transit referendum” on grounds a referendum would delay urgent work needed to reduce congestion in Metro Vancouver.

The last referendum was a mail-in plebiscite in which a large majority of Metro Vancouver Residents who participated voted “no” to a proposed tax to fund a $7.5 billion regional transit plan. Of 759,696 ballots cast, 61.7 per cent voted no and 38.4 per cent yes.

Last month, Metro Vancouver released a report, Provincial Property-Based Taxes in Metro Vancouver, that identified more than a billion in additional school property taxand provincial transfer tax that was collected in this region last year and the mayor’s council maintains this “growing windfall” should be reinvested in transit, housing and local infrastructure.

The Pattullo Bridge, which is 80 years old, needs to be replaced by 2013 and funding for this needs to be ready by 2017.

tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com