Clark carbon tax offer could put wheels on Translink funding formula

Transit riders take note: regional mayors are heaving a sigh of relief at the news that Premier Christy Clark is prepared to put carbon tax revenue on the table to provide long-term stability to Translink funding.

The real winners, if Clark delivers on the pledge, will be the tens of thousands of bus riders, mostly in Vancouver, who are passed by daily by buses already stuffed to the doors.

The first time I heard that suggestion, in 2009, it was coming from Mayor Gregor Robertson. But former Premier Gordon Campbell vetoed the idea. The Campbell version of the tax has actually been a net loser, costing more money in tax breaks to the rich than it brings in from regular folks.

Clark would require legislation to change the tax from the Campbell formula. Any deal with the Mayors will need a resolution of funding for the Evergreen Line. Given the financial problems in Victoria, that solution is unlikely to include carbon tax.

But any consideration of carbon tax will go down well with Metro Mayors, who need some new source of revenue to stop the drain on property tax.