SkyTrain sucks up TransLink funds
Editor: As P. T. Barnum observed: “There is a sucker born every minute,” and with the regional mayors goose-stepping in unison with TransLink’s demand for more money, it seems we are governed by ‘suckers.’
TransLink’s gambit was to scare regional mayors with dire predictions of transit chaos if new sources of taxpayer monies stopped flowing to the ivory towers on Kingsway, and it seems TransLink’s predictions of transit Armageddon worked.
What has been not tackled is why TransLink is short on cash. The answer is simple, yet the powers that be just do not want to hear it — it is SkyTrain.
SkyTrain is a proprietary light-metro and the taxpayer is paying three to four times more to build with it instead with modern light rail. Put another way, for every one km of SkyTrain built, we could have built three to four km of LRT.
The following example clearly illustrates the problem.
Portland, Oregon, for an investment of $3 billion, has 85 km of LRT, operating on four lines, with 85 stations. Portland also has two streetcar lines.
In Vancouver, for an investment of over $8 billion, there is 69 km of SkyTrain and Canada line light-metro (the Canada line is not compatible with SkyTrain in operation), with 47 stations.
For just over one-third the investment, Portland has a larger urban rail network, with more stations, servicing more destinations.
For the anti-LRT crowd, today modern LRT can carry more passengers than SkyTrain and faster, if it is designed to do, yet it can be built very cheaply if need be.
TransLink has bamboozled regional mayors with their SkyTrain nonsense for so long that mayors believe it, and the result is ever-higher taxes to fund hugely expensive mini-metro projects that again demand even more taxpayer money, which in turn, again increases taxes and so on and so on.
Want to curb TransLink’s tax and spend appetite, then stop building with SkyTrain and plan for LRT instead.