Translink audit just first round in struggle over new transit funding

The “value for money” audit of Translink by the Auditor General, demanded by the regional Mayor’s Council in their first post-election meeting Jan. 18, looks like the first salvo in the latest struggle over new sources of transportation funding.

New funding is necessary if the region is to avoid a further property tax increase next year to pay for transit expansion, including the Evergreen Line.

Victoria is already celebrating construction of the Evergreen Line in advance of the upcoming Port Moody by-election, but the mayors, led by Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and Surrey Mayor Diane Watts, don’t think they can get taxpayers to agree to a new source of funds if they don’t have proof the money will be well-spent.

No doubt Translink will agree to seek the audit, the provincial Auditor General will conduct it, and the real debate will begin. The mayors meet again today to consider all options.

Will it be carbon tax? Vehicle levy, anyone? Area-benefitting tax? Regional bridge tolls? Time will tell.