Translink hitting speed bumps on road to new rapid transit, bus investments

Although the Metro Vancouver board has no power to approve or reject Translink’s Base Plan — the core service budget Translink must prepare annually — the issue consumed more than two hours at today’s meeting.

That’s not encouraging for transit riders watching full buses pass them by on Broadway, or worse, waiting for buses that take 30 minutes to arrive in Langley City.

Although the base plan proposed no increase or decrease in service, Metro deferred consideration of it to their July 29 meeting because they had less than 24 hours’ notice it was on the agenda — a clear shot across Translink’s bow.

(The board did reject, however, a proposal to defer consideration of a motion that would affirm allocation of federal gas tax money to Translink, arguing this was aking to “poking Translink in the eye with a sharp stick.”)

But coming soon — in about seven days — is the retooled Moving Forward Supplement, which would add investments for Evergreen, more buses and much more if the Translink Mayor’s Council gives a green light to the tentative deal on new funding just concluded with Transport Minister Blair Lekstrom.

(Premier Christy Clark has now affirmed her support for her minister.)

It’s just the first of a series of significant speed bumps Translink must negotiate at high speed to achieve approval for Moving Forward, which is an updated version of a similar plan rejected last year.

In the next two weeks, Translink will release Moving Forward. The Base Plan is scheduled for final board approval July 28. Moving Forward is set to be approved by the Translink Board Aug. 5.

The Mayors’ Council will wrestle with Moving Forward and the new funding deal July 28. Then, a pause for August with final approval of new funding and Moving Forward in early September.