The Vancouver City Planning Commission supports a YES vote in the plebiscite.
There are many good summaries* describing the transit and transportation improvements and benefits that will result from a YES vote. Here are some that we think are really important:
A YES vote is a vote for all the people in Metro Vancouver who rely on transit for work, for health services, for shopping, for social connections, for entertainment. This segment of the population is growing as more people choose a life without a personal automobile. The proposed expansion of transit services will make transit a practical option for many more – the new transportation plan will put 7 out of 10 families in the region within a short walk of a frequent rapid transit line.
A YES vote is a vote for people who have no choice but to use their personal vehicles for their mobility needs, as they will benefit from decreased congestion when more residents are able to shift from automobiles to new transit options, and as road and bridge improvements are completed.
Increased independent mobility for youth and children
A YES vote supports the ability of children and youth to travel independently to recreational and educational destinations, as they do in many cities with well-developed transit systems.
Local transportation decision-making
A YES vote sends a strong message that we, the people of Metro Vancouver, are capable of making good transportation plans locally, based on a sound financial strategy, with our own elected officials working together for the benefit of the region. It will show that we can figure it out ourselves, because we know our needs best, and can be creative about solutions.
Greater social equity
And, perhaps most important of all, a YES vote is the best way to support the fundamental democratic principle of social equity. 60% of all workers who take transit to work earn less than $40,000 a year. Moreover, 60% of all workers who take transit are under the age of 40. Although we are equal when we vote or when we need health services, we are not equal when try to access many other essential services. We may not be able to ensure equity in access to basic housing, but we can ensure equality of access to transit.
Consequences of the Plebiscite
A NO vote will lead to another long period of wrangling over how to fund transit and transportation improvements in the region. In the meantime, our infrastructure continues to deteriorate without adequate maintenance and replacement. Service levels will be reduced and transit fares will rise without new funding to meet inevitable increasing costs.
A YES vote will finance the next chapter in a story of a regional transportation strategy with its roots in the 1975 Livable Regional Plan . This is a story that is held up as a model of good transportation planning in North America. The transit system we enjoy today is the product of more than three decades of good planning and investment, but it’s full. The Mayors’ Council Plan for the next 25 years is ready to roll out as soon as the financing is in place, assuring a good transportation system for the coming decades.
Are there other sources of funding other than the proposed 0.5% sales tax increase? Premier Clark has stated that if the plebiscite fails, mayors will have to rely on local funding tools, such as a property tax increase. There is no evidence to suggest that these would be more acceptable to residents, or more fair.
Could Translink governance and operations be improved? There is always room for improvement, particularly for an organization as complex and diversified as this.
If you are still thinking about which way to vote, please visit the many excellent online resources. These resources can answer your questions about the plebiscite and proposed transit and transportation improvements.
And please consider voting YES – a vote for a more livable metro Vancouver.
- Mayors’ Council: information about the proposed new transportation plan.
- Elections BC: Voting information
Coalitions Supporting the Transit and Transportation Plan
Articles and Discussion
There are many good articles online, found by searching the words: Vancouver transit transportation plebiscite. Here are links to a few:
- Top Five Myths about the Transit Vote, David P. Ball
- Guide to Metro Vancouver’s transportation and transit plebiscite, Janel Johnson
- No means yes to regional transportation improvement limbo, Peter Ladner
- Transit tax study warns No vote would double congestion costs for Metro Vancouver, Joanne Lee-Young
- Generation gap could impact Vancouver transit vote, Jon Azpiri
- Vancouver transit vote ‘case study’ in national transportation funding crisis, Tamsyn Burgman
- On transit, vote Yes for your kids’ future, Pete McMartin
- #GenerationTransit – Workers Reliant on Transit by Generation, Bing Thom Architects Data Desk
- Clark warns mayors will have to raise takes with No vote; Clark will vote Yes, Ian Bailey