One of my Facebook friends will likely be voting No in the upcoming referendum. His big issue is with TransLink. There’s more to the comment thread, but I thought I’d share the beginning bit of our back and forth below:
… Certainly you must have followed the news about the TransLink CEO resignation yesterday? Is paying 2 CEO salaries out of public tax dollars fiscally responsible for our kid’s future? Is that type of “public confidence restoration” what we want to teach our kids? Is continual support for the TransLink status quo of flawed governance and irresponsible spending good for our kids?
I would gladly vote for more tax burdens on myself in the name of public transportation. But not when TransLink will be the one directing this spending. I urge you to consider the consequences of keeping this TransLink middle man as well.
Here’s my response:
TransLink will continue to be at the helm of transportation in Metro Vancouver for the foreseeable future. If you want to vote against Translink, go ahead. It definitely has its flaws. Unfortunately, I think it’s more bad optics and PR that have sunk TransLinks reputation than truly bad finances. A provincial audit done a couple years ago already highlighted the belt-tightening needed. TransLink has followed through or is following through on some of those recommendations already. However, no one in the public has paid any attention to the audit. TransLink is a fallen brand at this point.
I’m not entirely sure what you mean by the 2 CEO salaries. I assume you are talking about Ian Jarvis still collecting his salary when a different CEO will be at the helm. I don’t know what the contract details are. It seems Mr. Jarvis will still be a TransLink employee, so he should get paid. Whether he should still receive his full salary, I’m not a big fan about that. However, if you remove somebody from their position, there has to be some sort of compensation. So does TransLink pay a giant severance and let him go or squeeze some work out of him for the remainder of his contract. I bet you it costs about the same either way. You might as well get something useful out of Mr. Jarvis while still paying him.
I am gladly voting for a slightly higher tax burden (one that is already way less than what we had many years ago with higher GST) to improve mobility in Metro Vancouver. TransLink is still the middle man at this point and will be regardless of a yes or no vote. So for me, TransLink is not the deal-breaker. The projects are what are at stake. Vote yes now and start down the path to better transit now. Or vote no now and delay better mobility another 5, 10, 15 years?
I lived in Toronto for a year and have followed closely how their public transportation has stalled over the years. From the early 80’s to now, there was one major 4-station subway addition to really nowhere. Everything else was status quo for 30 years. The GTA never stopped growing, though. The GTA can be hell to get around. Do I want Metro Vancouver to go through the same thing? No. I’d rather vote for something positive than vote against the negative.