February 23, 2004

BCAA opposes TransLink targeting road users in contingency plan

Burnaby, BC – In response to a proposal to load long term funding costs for transportation entirely on road users, the British Columbia Automobile Association says this represents an abandonment of the ‘balanced’ approach that TransLink has used successfully in recent years to reach regional consensus on transportation financing.

“BCAA concedes that road users should pay a share of TransLink’s costs, but we reject the notion that motorists pay the full extra costs if a planned revenue stream fails to materialize,” says Trace Acres, BCAA Director of Corporate Communications and Government Affairs. “What we have here is one level of government proposing to increase costs to road users if another level of government refuses to give back some of what it already charges road users. That would be a very bitter pill to swallow.”

Through fuel and parking taxes, Lower Mainland road users currently provide 40 per cent of the funding for TransLink, which in turn spends only six per cent of its budget on roads. Lower Mainland motorists currently pay 36.5 cents per litre in provincial and federal fuel taxes – nearly half of the current cost of gasoline. Of the total tax take, 11.5 cents per litre are
turned over to TransLink. Effective April 1 this year, TransLink’s fuel tax share will rise to 12 cents per litre.

Along with increasing fuel taxes, TransLink is also recommending resurrecting the controversial vehicle levy, and/or some form of congestion charge as alternatives to federal funding.

“Drivers in this region rejected the vehicle levy once, and we suspect they would reject it again,” says Acres. “Part of the reason BCAA opposed the previously proposed levy is that it would have loaded the lion’s share of transit improvement costs on motorists. This looks like ‘déj

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