I’m running behind this week – this is yesterdays column for 24Hrs!!
This week’s topic:
What should the parties do about transportation?
As we begin our election debate series on issues that matter to British Columbians, Kathryn makes a good point about TransLink being largely unaccountable to the public they purport to represent.
Transit is a hot button topic not just for the Lower Mainland, but for many communities across the province, where transit is often nearly non-existent. While the BC Liberals have been good at making large promises — about transit enhancements in the Metro Vancouver region in particular — the actuality is the enhancements have been limited, leaving suburban areas in the wilderness.
Read Kathryn Marshall’s column
When you look across the province, transit becomes more complex, so I am looking to see if any party will address three core issues — funding, equitable distribution of transit enhancements, and fiscal responsibility of TransLink…
Read the rest of this article and vote for whose column you think is best, here: http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2013/04/14/liberals-put-too-many-restrictions-on-decision-makers
3 thoughts on “This weeks column for 24Hrs Vancouver: What should the parties in BC do about transportation ?”
Transportation infrastructure development is a never ending process that involves the commitment to large amounts of money, usually borrowed and paid for over lengthy terms. By its very nature the thinking of what to do , how and when, means wisdom and no self-interest should to be featured to have the best possible outcome for the public.
Unfortunately narrow self-interests too often previal and those representatives tied to election cycles and in need of campaign financial support compromise what is socially the most benificial.
Others on this planet have managed to avoid some of the more obvious blunders by resorting to the regular use of the referendum. By this method the public is directly engaged when contemplating large money decisions.
Part of the reason for the BC Auditor General to give up on BC is probably because, after trying year in year out to get our govertnment to fully disclose provincial debt, he constantly met denial and had to endure public attacks by those wishing to keep their practices secret from the public.
As of a year ago your BC government had ramped up provincial debt to $170 billion.
$70 billion is the total liabilities disclosed in last year’s financial statements; $20 billion of which was other than “Debt” which is just another way of saying the credit card that never gets paid off is not long-term in nature.
The other $100 billion most people have no clue about is being “air brushed” out of campaign talk but that does not mean it does not exist, particularly in the minds of the credit rating agencies. Mr. Doyle and his team have been keeping track of it for at least 6 years. They formally refer to it as “Contingencies and Contractual Obligations”.
In a 2010 AG report they presented the amounts in both numerical and graphic form.
Ask yourself if you read or heard one mention of this matter by a politician or by a prominent news agency. Of course you did not or if yes share the expirience with us. A year ago the reported total for this “hidden” debt was $96.374 billion which means that as of a year later, now, it is likely at $100 billion.
Talk on the street about paying down the debt while at the same time freezing taxation is something lifted out of”Gulliver’s Travels”. Think in terms of your personal situation.
Can you visualize crafting a credible story to tell a bank loans officer that includes servicing massive and growing debt when your income is frozen for the forseeable future? Of course not, you would be embarassed even trying it on.
Today the personal per capita debt for every man, woman and child in BC is about $40,000 provincially and about $20,000 federally. Interest on that debt load easily exeeds $5 per day, 365 days a year for an indefinite future period.
Beware of politicians bearing gifts and making ignorant statements.
The problem with transportation is that we do not have transportation experts involved, instead all major transportation projects are politically driven, supported by career bureaucrats. All three major political parties which have rules this province have forced extremely expensive mini-metro lines on the region which have not attracted the motorist from the car, but have given current bus riders a more inconvenient and expensive trip.
Regional transit planning is a witches brew of cronyism and Lysenkoism.
Lysenkoism: describes the manipulation or distortion of the scientific process as a way to reach a predetermined conclusion as dictated by an ideological bias, often related to social or political objectives.
We build with Skytrain, even though modern LRT has proven both much cheaper to build and carry more people. Fact is SkyTrain is considered obsolete, an Edsel of transit systems by most transit planners around the world.
Since TransLink has come into being, the percentage of commuting by car in the region has remained the same.
We invest billions of dollars on new highways and replace sound bridges, such as the Port Mann, and let decrepit bridges rot away, such as the Patullo.
We are in a transit mess, with absolutely no light at the end of the tunnel.
Excellent points Donald. In particular about the Port Mann.Until the gov was talked into the bridge we have now, it was originally planned as a twinning of the old Port Man- which would have been perfectly fine. Now we are left with a dangerous old bridge and no way to pay for a new one yet….
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