British Columbians are preparing themselves for the potential of a new Green Party-backed government.
Some of the things they can expect include a gas tax, which is set to hit 55cents/L once the carbon tax is raised.
And if that isn't enough, the Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation wants to come up with a plan for road pricing.
What’s road pricing? It’s code for a new tax.
The regional Mayors Council wants to raise money to pay for new transit initiatives.
Officially called the Mobility Pricing Independent Commission. It will be a 12 person team tasked with essentially amounts to deciding how to punish drivers.
According to North Vancouver District Mayor Richard Walton, mobility pricing could include bridge tolls or road usage fees, it may include higher fees to use roads during rush hour and lower fees outside of peak times, or a levy on the distance each car travels.
All of those sound awful. But worse, it’s not what voters want. In 2015 the lower mainland gave a resounding “no” to a new tax to pay for Translink.
In fact, the NoTranslinkTax campaign headed by our good friends Jordan Bateman and Hamish Marshall is one of the greatest examples of a victorious grassroots campaign on a shoestring budget.
They took down the big money machine that was in favour of that regional sales tax of 0.5%. And this wasn’t some kind of close result either, 62% of voters soundly rejected this plan, and yet the Mayors Council and those who are pushing road pricing can’t seem to get it through their heads that we don’t want it.
Of course, it should come as no surprise that the head of the Mayors Council is Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson who has been waging a war on cars since he was elected in 2008. Robertson sounded pretty excited at the prospect of gauging us evil drivers even further under mobility pricing yesterday:
Mobility pricing is a key pillar of the Mayors' Council's 10-Year Vision that could fix Metro Vancouver's unfair user pricing regime, significantly reduce congestion, and deliver fair and stable funding for our transit and transportation network.
He went on to tell CBC News:
Millennium Line extension, Broadway subway, Surrey light rail, the Pattullo Bridge replacement — we have to figure out how we're going to pay for all that.
Actually Mr. Mayor we already figured that out. We aren’t going to pay for it by new taxes and fees, we sent you that message loud and clear when we rejected your first crack at gauging us, again 62% voted against your planned transit tax.
So I emailed the Mayor office this morning to challenge their support for mobility pricing given voters rejection of new taxes to pay for transit funding. The response from Katie Robb the Mayor’s director of communications was somewhat expected.
Hi Christopher, There isn’t a ‘tax’ to comment on as there isn’t one proposed.
I guess I should have predicted they wouldn’t acknowledge mobility pricing as a tax, but that is exactly what this is. A new tax, a new fee, a new levy, whatever you want to call it, it's going to mean more money out of drivers pockets.
But here's the thing, there is a very simple way that Mayor Robertson can make his long list of transit dreams come true. If local municipal governments who are all part of this Mayors Council plan simply allocated 3/10 of a percent of their yearly 5% revenue growth, they could pay for it all.
3/10 of a percent! That's it!
If you're sick of this war on cars, on drivers, and the ever escalating costs of living in Vancouver then please stand up and say no to this new tax.
Sign my petition below to the Mayor's Council and remind our government that we already voted no against a new transit tax.
Sign the petition!
The Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation must not implement a new road tax.