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Get Moving BC Press Release

Get Moving BC

For Immediate Release

February 11, 2008

 

GET MOVING BC SAYS “NO” TO NEW TRANSIT TAXES

 

Group calls on TransLink to adopt Hong Kong’s successful real estate funding model to help pay for the Transportation Authority’s currently unfunded $2.75 billion share of the new transit plan

Vancouver, B.C. – Get Moving BC is calling on TransLink to adopt the innovative funding model used by Hong Kong to successfully expand its transit system – one of the few profitable public transportation systems in the world.

 

Get Moving BC spokesperson Ian MacPherson says TransLink’s currently unfunded $2.75 billion share of the $14 billion transit plan could be paid for – in whole or in part – by linking development of the transit system to real estate development the way they’ve done it in Hong Kong rather than raising or introducing new taxes.

 

MacPherson points to the Tsing Yi station built by Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway Corporation next to the 4-story Maritime Square shopping centre that the corporation also developed. The railway corporation also developed the adjacent Tierra Verde housing complex.

 

Another example of a transit line linked to new residential and commercial development is Hong Kong’s Tseung Kwan O Line. Construction costs for this transit line were partly covered by the Hong Kong Government and partly by private developers.

 

“In Hong Kong, TransLink’s counterpart has successfully leveraged commercial and residential real estate development to help pay for the expansion and operation of their transit system; TransLink should be doing the same,” says MacPherson. “We have to stop this mentality of always going back to the taxpayer to fund big transit projects.”

 

MacPherson says, rather than increasing property taxes or hiking the gas tax, TransLink should be working with municipalities and the provincial government to secure land along future rapid transit routes, and around future stations, that can be rezoned for higher density commercial and residential use. TransLink could then profit from the increased density by selling off some of the rezoned property or by developing the properties to offset the construction and ongoing operating costs of the system through a long term property leasing strategy.

 

“Proximity to public transit is a positive factor in setting real estate market values,” says MacPherson. “In the high density areas of Surrey, Burnaby and Vancouver the underutilized air space above our SkyTrain stations alone has an enormous value. The taxpayers of B.C. should be able to benefit from the development potential of properties near transit and let that development potential provide the funding needed to build the kind of transit system we need without raising taxes.”

 

MacPherson says TransLink’s newly-appointed professional board needs “to think outside the box” and use some old fashioned entrepreneurial spirit and common sense ingenuity to build us one of the best transit systems in the world without having to reach into the pockets of B.C. taxpayers.

 

A key goal of the recently announced transit plan is to increase the market share of public transit in Metro Vancouver from its current 12 per cent share to 17 per cent by 2020 and 22 per cent by 2030.

 

 

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Get Moving BC is dedicated to holding governments accountable for a balanced transportation system and was formed to provide a voice for the majority of Greater Vancouver residents who support improving our roads, bridges and transit systems. 

 

For more information please contact Get Moving BC’s media desk at 604-678-5567 or by email at info@getmovingbc.com  
 
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