TransLink's funding tribulations

Timeline created by jeffnagel
  • TransLink created

    TransLink launched as regional transportation authority.
    Vancouver Coun. George Puil elected first chair. System has 1,081 conventional buses.
    117 new buses are ordered.
    TransLink, province agree to share costs of building SkyTrain expansion, funded in part through a vehicle levy. Construction begins on the Millennium Line.
  • $75 vehicle levy approved

    $75 vehicle levy approved
    TransLink proceeds with planned $75 vehicle levy. The annual fee on all vehicles gets backing from GVRD and TransLink boards.
  • Fares rise, province now opposes car levy

    Fares rise for first time since 1993.
    One-zone cash fare now costs $1.75. Bus fleet rises to 1,148 conventional coaches. Provincial government opts not to support car levy.
  • Vehicle levy scrapped

    The NDP government refuses to collect TransLink's vehicle levy on the eve of the 2001 provincial election.
  • Transit expansion rescinded

    Transit expansion rescinded
    TransLink board votes to rescind previously approved transit expansion due to lack of funds.
  • TransLink needs new funding deal: A-G

    Auditor General report calls for a new funding relationship between TransLink and the province as well as changes in TransLink governance.
  • Gas tax hike okayed

    Gas tax hike okayed
    Province agrees to a two cent per litre increase in gas and diesel taxes in GVRD to help TransLink fund operation of Millennium Line, provided TransLink matches money with hikes in fares, property taxes.
  • New chair takes over

    George Puil steps down as TransLink board chair, is replaced by Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum. Earlier in the year, Pat Jacobsen took over as CEO of TransLink, replacing first CEO Ken Dobell, who resigns to become deputy minister to new Premier Gordon Campbell.
  • Transit fares rise

    Cash fares climb to $2 for a one-zone trip. Bus fleet shrinks to 1,115 as funding shortfalls force 50 natural gas buses out of service.
  • New SkyTrain line opens

    New SkyTrain line opens
    Millennium Line opens and 60 new SkyTrain cars go into service. 97-B Line begins express bus service in Coquitlam, Port Moody, Burnaby. SeaBus ridership hits 100 million/year.
  • New three-year plan okayed

    TransLink board okays $4-billion three-year plan/10-year outlook.
    GVRD board ratifies plan by one vote. Future funding gap identified.
  • Vancouver awarded 2010 Winter Olympics.

    Vancouver awarded 2010 Winter Olympics.
    Vancouver awarded 2010 Winter Olympics.
    Pressure builds on TransLink to build the Canada Line (then the RAV Line) from Vancouver to Richmond and the airport.
  • U-Pass launched

    Mandatory U-Pass system introduced for students at UBC, SFU.
    Later credited with greatly expanding transit use -- and intensifying pressure on a transit system struggling to keep up.
  • TransLink board says no to RAV line

    TransLink directors vote against building the RAV Line (later named the Canada Line), since renamed the Canada Line). Reasons for the opposition include the project's high cost, the fact that the regional priority for rapid transit is to the Northeast Sector, and Victoria's insistence it proceed as a public-private partnership (P3).
  • Canada Line okayed

    Canada Line okayed
    TransLink's board under pressure from Victoria finally votes in favour of building the Canada Line after twice before rejecting it. The vote effectively leapfrogs the P3 project past the priority Evergreen Line to the Tri Cities. Then known as the RAV line, the rapid transit route to Richmond and YVR was one of the major transportation commitments promised to be in place for the 2010 Winter Olympics. The new line adds significantly to TransLink operating costs.
  • Fares up to $2.25

    Cash fares for one zone rise to $2.25.
  • Vehicle levy revival mooted

    Amid growing fears for TransLink's finances, some mayors, including Maple Ridge's Kathy Morse, suggest the vehicle levy be reconsidered. Transportation minister Kevin Falcon soon shoots down the idea. Read October, 2005 story
  • Transit Police launched

    Transit Police Service launched.
  • Falcon vows to shake up TransLink board

    Falcon vows to shake up TransLink board
    Transportation minister Kevin Falcon vows to overhaul governance of TransLink, calling the board's handling of the Canada Line decision a "disaster circus" of political infighting and dithering. Transport minister vows TransLink shake-up
  • Governance review launched

    Transportation minister Kevin Falcon names a panel to probe TransLink governance and recommend reforms.
  • Parking stall tax proposed

    TransLink's board commits to a new source of funding: a parking stall tax that aims to raise $20 million a year.
  • More buses arrive

    Major bus orders begin arriving.
    Fleet grows to 1,326 vehicles.
  • TransLink restructuring unveiled

    TransLink restructuring unveiled
    Transportation minister Kevin Falcon unveils his plan to rebuild TransLink. A new professional board will take over, replacing the former elected mayors and councillors from around the region. The revamped transportation authority gets the ability to raise fuel taxes another three cents. Gone is the parking tax opposed by business. New TransLink unveiled
  • Parking tax defeated

    The parking stall tax is to be scrapped after a governance review panel recommends its elimination, along with a massive overhaul of TransLink's structure. Transportation minister Falcon agrees to eliminate the tax. Business groups strongly opposed the tax.
  • Parking tax to be replaced

    It becomes clear that the revenue from the parking stall tax - although to be removed - will still have to be raised. The so-called "replacement tax" would be raised from property taxes, but only from business tax payers.
  • Province passes new TransLink legislation

    The South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority Act eliminates the old board and sets up a new appointed structure. It also opens the way for expansion into the Fraser Valley and Sea-to-Sky corridor if neighbouring regional districts agree. Legislation allows a three cent a litre increase in fuel taxes, as long as it's matched by other sources like fares and property taxes. A vehicle levy remains a permitted option.
  • Keep TransLink open: outgoing board

    Outgoing mayors and councillors in their final meeting as TransLink directors call on their replacements to meet publicly. Critics warn the new structure includes potential for conflicts of interest and taxation without representation.
  • Fares up to $2.50

    Cash fares for one zone rise to $2.50.
  • New TransLink board takes power

    New TransLink board takes power
    A new unelected board of appointed professionals and business executives takes over most oversight of TransLink. Meetings move behind closed doors, where much higher board pay levels are quickly approved. TransLink board pay tops B.C. limits Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts is elected chair of the Mayors Council on Regional Transportation.
  • Provincial Transit Plan announced

    Provincial Transit Plan announced
  • Road tolls eyed in new 30-year plan

    TransLink's new 30-year plan opens door to tolls, other driving charges.Current surpluses are to dry up by 2012, after which it's projected the transportation authority will run a $150-million annual deficit just operating the existing system. TransLink eyes car levy, tolls
  • Pattullo Bridge rebuild to be tolled

    Pattullo Bridge rebuild to be tolled
    The new TransLink board agrees a complete rebuild of the aging Pattullo Bridge is needed - and that it will likely have to be paid for with tolls. New CEO Tom Prendergast arrives, replacing Pat Jacobsen.
  • TransLink warns of cuts without more cash

  • Higher fares, car levy eyed, docs show

    Documents obtained through Freedom of Information show TransLink is considering higher transit pass prices, and a car levy. Reports to the board show a grim financial outlook. TransLink eyes higher transit pass prices, car levy as financial outlook grim
  • TransLink approves budget shortfall

    TransLink Board approves its 2009 budget behind closed doors. It pulls $103 million from reserves to cover a projected operating budget shortfall.
    TransLink approves budget shortfall
  • First glimpse of potential funding sources

    TransLink officials give area mayors a first look at possible funding sources under consideration to refinance the transportation authority.
    The controversial list includes a potential levy on cell phone use. Read story
  • Falcon 'won't duck' TransLink tax debate

    Falcon 'won't duck' TransLink tax debate
    Trnsport minister Kevin Falcon says TransLink is taking right approach in putting all options on the table. Mayors say province should give some indication of which funding sources it would tolerate. Falcon 'won't duck' TransLink tax debate
  • Falcon will try to avoid tolling Pattullo Bridge

    Falcon will try to avoid tolling Pattullo Bridge
    Spectre of tolling all Surrey-area bridges prompts transport minister to vow to search for other ways to fund Pattullo rebuild. Falcon shifts into reverse on Pattullo tolls
  • Evergreen Line gets federal cash

    The federal government commits $350 million to build the 11-kilometre Evergreen Line to Port Moody and Coquitlam. The $1.4-billion project, to be built as a P3, is still $173 million short. And TransLink warns it will not be able to operate it or stump up its $400 million share of the capital costs without greatly expanded funding sources. Action on Evergreen Line
  • Car levy, tax hikes to refinance TransLink

    Car levy, tax hikes to refinance TransLink
    CEO says TransLink will pursue seven funding sources: higher fares, property taxes, fuel taxes and parking sales tax; a tax on cargo container shipments, a share of the province's already collected Property Transfer Tax; and a vehicle levy. Car levy, tax hikes to refinance TransLink
  • Falcon doubts TransLink needs more taxes

    Falcon doubts TransLink needs more taxes
  • Mayors want carbon tax to bail out TransLink

    Mayors want carbon tax to bail out TransLink
    TransLink should get money from B.C.'s carbon tax to finance its expansion and spare the heavily taxed residential home owner, Metro Vancouver mayors say. Mayors want carbon tax to bail out TransLink
  • Liberals reject carbon tax take for TransLink

    Liberals reject carbon tax take for TransLink
  • Container tax unlikely

    Container tax unlikely
    Strong opposition from Port Metro Vancouver to a proposed container tax has prompted TransLink to look for alternatives. TransLink container tax unlikely
  • Victoria blocks path to improved TransLink: CEO

    Victoria blocks path to improved TransLink: CEO
    Convert province to need for full $450 million expansion with new funding sources or 'end up with something less' than the transit system Metro Vancouver needs for a livable future. Read interview with TransLink CEO Tom Prendergast:
    Victoria blocks path to improved TransLink: CEO
  • Public consultations on new funding sources

    TransLink embarks on intensive public consultations on its contentious proposed funding sources. Read story:
    TransLink game gauges public priorities
  • Mayors bring in allies to press for TransLink funding

    Mayors bring in allies to press for TransLink funding
    Metro Vancouver mayors enlist influential new allies representing business, environment and labour to help press their case for new TransLink funding sources to enable an ambitious transit system expansion. Mayors bring in allies to press for TransLink funding
  • TransLink may face new overhaul as province orders review

    TransLink may face new overhaul as province orders review
    Transportation minister Shirley Bond has ordered a review of TransLink and BC Ferries aimed at cutting costs and ensuring they're financially sustainable. The review means a possible new overhaul of TransLink and its board, which was radically transformed less than two years ago by former transportation minister Kevin Falcon. Read story:
    TransLink may face new overhaul as province orders review
  • TransLink plan seeks road pricing approval from Victoria

    TransLink's board adopts a 10-year plan that proposes mayors agree to one of two supplements: a scaled down $130-million tread-water plan or the recommended and ambitious $450 million expansion, which depends on new funding sources being approved by the province. TransLink plan leaves room for province to sign on, charge new tolls
  • Bond pans TransLink expansion options

    Bond pans TransLink expansion options
    Transportation minister Shirley Bond is not happy with TransLink's call for Victoria to enable road pricing and tolling of existing bridges to help deliver a 45 per cent revenue increase for transit expansion over the next decade. She says a mid-range option should have been tabled so mayors can vote on a modest expansion and she says Victoria has no plans to alter its policy on road pricing or tolls Bond pans TransLink expansion plan
  • Deadline for mayors to approve or reject

    Deadline for mayors to approve or reject
    The Mayors Council must by Oct. 31 approve or reject the TransLink board's supplemental plan and the proposed sources to fund expansion. If it's rejected, TransLink must proceed with a base plan that cuts service intstead of expanding it.