When the Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation meets in coming weeks to discuss transit funding, there will likely be at least one seat empty at the table.
Following what Port Moody Mayor Mike Clay sees as an "insulting" response by the Minister of Transportation to the council's most recent proposal to address TransLink funding, he intends to boycott any further meetings.
"For me, I'm done. I don't have any interest in playing this game with them [the provincial government]," he told The NOW.
"If they want to wait until after the election, then I guess I'll wait until after the election."
Clay reached his breaking point Wednesday after hearing Minster Mary Polak's response to the council's recommendations on a radio show.
"As the minister's comments indicate that there is either no desire or acceptance of moving forward with the framework all mayors have agreed to, I see little point in continuing with our efforts, as we are accountable and responsible for, but have no ability to control, the process," he said.
Earlier this week the mayors' council put forward five recommendations to the province to address both a short-term funding shortfall and funding for a long-term growth plan.
The five points include a vehicle registration fee, a 0.5-per-cent regional sales tax toward transit within the region, the reallocation of the carbon tax or a new regional carbon tax, a road pricing system, and an idea called Land Value Capture, which would essentially collect money from new developments built along major transportation projects.
The mayors have spent the last few years trying to come up with a funding model for TransLink to fill the gap caused by the decrease in gas tax revenue and removal of the property tax funding.
Clay acknowledged some of the recent suggestions still need some work, but noted the mayors were in complete agreement on the general document and worked on the recommendations in good faith.
He suggested the provincial government just wants to postpone any decision until after the next election in May.
"My suggestion to all the mayors . is that we should just pack up and get out of that room because they're asking us - every time they're asking us to do something and [when] we do, they move the goal post and they change all the rules," Clay said.
PoCo Mayor Greg Moore was equally frustrated and generally agreed with his counterpart in Port Moody.
He called the response by the province "political," suggesting the government is waiting for an election before dealing with TransLink.
"It's an unworkable situation," he said.
"I don't know why we [regional mayors] continue."
Though Moore didn't appear ready to pull out of the mayors' council altogether, he did suggest it might be time for the council to revert back to its original mandate, which is to approve the TransLink board and say yes or no to supplementary budgets.
He also said the province and TransLink board need to come forward with a funding solution.
Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart was just as critical of the entire process, maintaining TransLink has been unworkable because it has been underfunded since its creation.
Though he indicated he's not a big fan of the sales tax idea and has long suggested the carbon tax go toward transit, he blames successive provincial governments for the current situation.
"Every time we propose [a solution], the provincial government says 'Solve it yourself,'" he said.
However, Stewart said transit is an important part of making the region livable and he doesn't intend to quit the mayors' council.
Instead, he said the mayors must engage with the political parties in the upcoming provincial election to make sure they understand the issue.
"We've got to solve this. It doesn't become less important just because it becomes more difficult," Stewart said.