VanSun says “Transit taxes odious but necessary…”

Transit taxes odious but necessary for growth of city — Vancouver Sun, July 13, 2011

Skytrain in the Grandview Cut

It’s not everyday that I agree with editorial from the Vancouver Sun. The Vancouver Sun weighs in after Christy Clark “throws Blair Lekstrom under the Evergreen Line.

It’s nice to see for once a mainstream newspaper supporting transit initiatives and funding for transit in general. The Vancouver Sun makes a few good points about the proposed 2-cent a litre gas tax.

But taxes should never be considered on their own. The first question has to be whether we want to proceed with the Evergreen Line and the other improvements that are part of the plan now being put out for public comment.

If we don’t want or need the improvements, there is no necessity for any new or increased taxes. But if we agree that we want transit improvements, and the consensus now among the mayors who are elected to represent the views of the constituents in their respective municipalities is that we do, then we have to pay for them.

The editorial staff at the Vancouver Sun are actually looking at the big picture instead of just focusing on the tax itself.  We all want to be able to get around better in this region.  The Evergreen Line will help ease some of the traffic woes in the Northeast Sector and open up more transit travel in and out of the area.

Provincial politicians have been able to appear to side with taxpayers while dodging any responsibility for the consequences of failing to provide the infrastructure necessary to keep up with growth.

We can have a useful discussion about what form the taxation will take to pay for transit and what segments of the travelling public should pay what share.

What won’t help is to pretend we can continue to build cities with a premium quality of life with no additional costs.

Yes, please. Let’s continue to stick our heads in the sand and demand transit without figuring out how to pay for it.  Previous provincial administrations have already shot down the previous vehicle levy and parking stall tax proposals without providing viable funding alternatives for TransLink.

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