EDITORIAL: TransLink 3.0?

Something has to be done about TransLink and the string-pulling provincial government – whether BC Liberal or NDP – has to do it.

A mad scientist couldn’t have come up with an odder creation than TransLink. And a new consultant’s report paid for by the Mayor’s Council on Regional Transportation seems to agree. Recognizing the fact that TransLink is essentially a provincial creation responsible for overseeing regional priorities yet beset with funding woes and lack of accountability, the report suggests numerous reform options. None appear to be ideal.

Critics say it’s time for a change but what changes are necessary?

Former transportation minister Kevin Falcon thought he solved the problem when he took priority-setting responsibilities away from the mayors and gave them to a professional board. But that hasn’t worked the way it was hoped. There’s never enough money for transportation priorities so the mayors always seem to be going cap-in-hand to the province, only to be told to look under the couch for spare change or pare down the priorities.

TransLink’s mayors’ council has only enough power to be a ready scapegoat for the province.

Thus, when big decisions are made — say, building the new Port Mann Bridge or choosing the transit technology for the Evergreen LIne — they’re made by the province, leaving the mayors and the TransLink board responsible for unpopular actions such as cutting bus routes or hiking property taxes.

According to the consultants, TransLink’s structure — an appointed board of directors in control of all decisions except major revenue increases — is an anomaly worldwide; most other cities have democratically elected representatives who answer directly to their constituents.

But does the public want another emasculated but elected board, like boards of education, which have a little responsibility and no authority or revenue-raising power? Not likely.

More radical surgery might be necessary. One idea would be to create a democratically elected Metro Vancouver land-planning board with responsibility for setting transportation priorities as well as budgets — replacing both the Metro Van board and the TransLink mayors’ council.

Voters might yawn at the idea but something has to be done about TransLink and the string-pulling provincial government — whether BC Liberal or NDP — has to do it.

 

Just Posted

Bevy of remarkable birthdays celebrated in Aldergrove

Maudie MacPherson (age 101), Vera Banner (91) and Alice Utas (95)

Pond hockey banned in public parks under updated Township bylaw

Public spaces bylaw imposes new restrictions on smoking, possession of drug paraphernalia, geocaching and more

Golfers tee up for Langley Memorial Hospital

Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation’s 22nd annual charity golf tournament sells out

Election 2018: Kim Richter withdraws from mayor’s race, runs for council instead

In a Facebook post, Richter announced she will seek another term on Township council

More office, retail space planned for Willoughby Town Centre

Fourth phase now underway as Township council grants third and final reading

B.C. wildfires 2018: Hazy skies impacting crews in spotting new fires

18,000 people are on an evacuation alert, with 3,000 homes under an evacuation order

Minister optimistic after 2 days of Columbia River Treaty negotiations

Canadian and U.S. officials met in Nelson Wednesday and Thursday to discuss future of the treaty

Man dies in B.C. police cell while awaiting court hearing

An independent investigation is underway after a man died while in Penticton police custody Aug. 16

RCMP appeal for tips, dashcam footage in German tourist shooting west of Calgary

The Durango crashed into the ditch after the shooting near the Goodstoney Rodeo Centre

2 nurses attacked at B.C. psych hospital, union calls for in-unit security

PHSA says that in-unit guards would do more harm than good

Former B.C. optician won’t be jailed for sexually assaulting minor

Kenneth Pilkington sentenced to 24 months’ probation for offence three decades ago

Mt. Hicks fire 15% contained, continues to burn north of Agassiz

The fire, suspected to be caused by a vehicle with a flat tire, not threatening any structures

Police responding to ‘unfolding’ incident in Maple Ridge suburb

Helicopter, dog team, guns drawn and 16 police vehicles at Maple Ridge property

Red Cross now accepting donations for those impacted by B.C. wildfires

The Canadian Red Cross is asking for help now and in the weeks and months ahead.

Most Read