Why you should vote for a better-run city and infrastructure
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer
A TransLink referendum across Greater Vancouver is in the works. The voting will commence on March 16 through a mail-in ballot available until May 29. The vote itself is on whether we should implement a 0.5 per cent increase to the PST in order to fund an $8-billion, 10-year transit plan.
There are several upgrades and additions that will be put in place if this plan passes. This includes a subway line to UBC, light-rail transit in Surrey, increased bus services and routes, and a replacement for the Pattullo Bridge.
Upgrading transit options does not benefit just those who use transit regularly, but vastly improves the city’s infrastructure as a whole. Traffic will be decreased by 20-30 per cent. The carbon emissions and other environmental wear-and-tear issues will also be reduced. Vancouver will be easier to navigate, look nicer, and have a better organized infrastructure overall.
TransLink is not without its problems—in fact, it has many. It’s disappointed us many times. While it isn’t the best-run transit provider in the country, it certainly isn’t the worst. But more importantly, it is our only viable option for transit growth. They run the public transportation systems and voting for less funding will only serve to increase the problems. As Vancouver’s metro area population and needs grow, TransLink will be forced to rely on much greater fees for stagnant or declining services.
Like it or not, TransLink will be in charge of upgrading the system. But it’ll have a lot of help from the city. Are we so selfish as to deny the benefits of a better run transportation system because of the bureaucracy behind it? If it wasn’t TransLink, it’d be another company—perhaps an even more incompetent one. The voting ballot does not say TransLink on it. We are voting for optimum transit overall, and some of the implementations will not even be TransLink-run.
The amount of money invested through the 0.5 per cent sales tax increase will be barely noticeable. It will cost the average person a couple dollars a month, if that. If this referendum doesn’t go through, we’ll have nothing invested for the city’s future. Vancouver in five years will have increased traffic, pollution, and failing transit.
It’s important to vote and make yourself heard. General resentment and an opposition to slight price increases lead to a lack of change and failure to grow. This is true in general, and it’s especially true when planning our city’s longterm future. Better funded transit affects and benefits everybody, and a failing transit system with no longterm strategy makes things worse.
I’m voting “Yes” on the transit referendum, because I believe in and feel strongly about the viable future of Vancouver’s infrastructure. It’s time to decrease the number of cars on the road, increase the accessibility of public transportation, and make our city a greener and proper one to commute in. You should too.