Chances that Translink supplement will be approved: about zero

Translink’s valiant effort to secure funding for new expansion, including the Evergreen Line and a mix of service improvements, met an icy reception yesterday from Metro mayors at a special briefing.

The vehicle levy is off the table, and the first year of the new spending would be funded from Translink’s reserves. But in the absence of agreement with Victoria on a new funding source, the entire lift will come from property tax in 2012.

How likely is it that Metro leaders could get a new deal from Victoria if property tax is the default? And who is in charge in Victoria right now anyway? Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan likens it to putting a mortgage down payment on your credit card.

With no one answering the phone in Victoria, the stage is set for continued impasse. Translink commissioner Martin Crilly will review the supplements for 30 days and the two supplements on offer — one is a bare bones proposal that only funds Evergreen and a North Fraser Perimeter Road improvement — will come before the Mayor’s Council on Dec. 9.

If both supplements are turned down, as seems inevitable, Translink will continue on course, but could lose access to $400 million of federal funding for Evergreen and about $65 million for the NFPR.

No one seemed too worried about that yesterday. The timing has never been better for Metro Mayors to force an end to the use of property tax for transit capital investment.