‘New’ Translink process not new at all; might have averted 2009 funding crisis

Legislation creating a new funding approval process for Translink, announced yesterday by Transportation Minister Shirley Bond, is not new at all.

In fact, it sounds exactly like the old “three-year plan, 10-year outlook” system that was in place until former Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon threw a bomb into Translink about three years ago. Under Falcon’s rules, Translink had to do a massive annual consultation and planning process on a 10-year plan, make multiple submissions to a commission and regional mayors, and prepare for massive cuts if any part went on the rocks.

Had the “new” process been in place, it would have been much easier for Translink to prepare a long-term plan that produced funding for the Evergreen in the near term at levels close to the $225 million increase acceptable to the province. Then the province and the municipalities could have worked over a longer time frame to resolve the much larger issues of system expansion and the UBC/Broadway line.

At it was, the Translink Council of Mayors approved a minimal $130 million increase and nothing  was resolved.

Is this the “fix” of Translink promised in the last Throne Speech? Perhaps, but Victoria still must tell the Mayors how it expects them to fund the Evergreen Line.

Can Victoria impose a solution? Given the raging battles over HST and school funding, that seems like a risky proposition.