Vancouver is having a Transportation & Transit Referendum this spring: Yes or No on a 0.5% local sales-tax hike to pay for transit infrastructure, mostly public-transit train lines. The only sane vote is Yes; here’s why.
Strong bones · Vancouver’s a child among cities. As Doug Coupland (I think it was him) said: “In 100 years, Paris will still be Paris and Tokyo will still be Tokyo. What will Vancouver be? Nobody knows.” Growing children need strong bones, and that’s what the vote’s about.
Voting Yes: It’s buying milk for your kids, and making them drink it before they go out to play.
Toxic politics · Let’s bypass the politics that led to the vote: A suburbanite government, none of whom would ever be caught dead on a bus and don’t know anyone who would, forcing the money pain down onto municipal politicians. Whatever; this is the referendum we’ve got.
The No side has managed to make the vote about the unpopular TransLink operating company. Their line is “More money for those bozos? No way!”
There are two distinct questions here: How we pay for transit and how we manage it. Translink is a political creation and if we don’t like how it’s being run, the way to fix it is politics.
Hint to local NDP and Green candidates: Try out a platform of “Fire the Translink board, dissolve the company, and restructure it from the ground up. Start by getting rid of the ludicrously-unnecessary, overequipped, walking-attitude-problem Transit Police.” I bet that’d play well.
Letters of fire, 50 feet high · In the last decade there have been three big transit investments around here: the Port Mann and Golden Ears toll bridges, and the Canada Line train (disclosure: I ride it to work). Both the bridges, cheered on by our suburbanite government, are struggling to meet ridership projections, while the Canada Line surpassed its two-year target in about fifteen minutes and is never not busy.
What do the letters of fire say? Stop building bridges and highways. Build more trains.
Meanwhile, the suburbanites have announced they’re going ahead with a replacement for the Massey Tunnel. No need for one of those messy referenda to fund that one; it’s for their kind of three-car-garage people.
Please vote · Pass the word. Tell your friends. If you like any of my sound-bites, steal them. Failing to pass this referendum would be childish behavior; this particular city-child should just drink her milk already.