Re: "Stewart not keen on vehicle levy," Wednesday, March 21.
I must take exception to the notion put forward by the mayors to introduce a vehicle levy to finance public transit, in particular a levy based on engine size and consumption.
This scheme will again burden many that can least afford it. Let's not forget that a sizable part of our population is made up of seniors. Being on fixed incomes, they are not in a position to regularly buy new vehicles to keep up with technological developments. Many of them are driving older cars, purchased when engines were bigger and consumed more gas. Of course, the same applies to low-income earners. Because of this regressive proposed levy, those least able to afford it will again be asked to carry most of the load.
If there is to be a vehicle levy, it should be based on the present value of the vehicle, so that those who can afford to regularly buy high-end cars and SUVs will carry their fair share. Another issue to consider is that TransLink is totally out of control and should be reined in. When the Port Mann project was first proposed, the existing bridge, which is still in fair shape, was to be twinned. The private partner then proceeded to expand the project to completely replace a perfectly good bridge, because it was in his interest to drive up the project scope. When the private partner dropped out, we should have reverted to the original scope, which would have saved us roughly $300 million to $500 million.
So, before TransLink puts their greedy hands deeper into our pockets, they should be subjected to a thorough audit by an impartial party to justify the scope of their projects, how they spend our monies and to identify opportunities for savings. Also, it's high time TransLink was put back under the control of elected officials, so that the voter, who after all foots the bill for all those grandiose schemes, gets an opportunity to have an input, if only at election time.
M. Guenther Port Coquitlam
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