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Delta looks to leave Translink
Delta is now talking about leaving TransLink unless better transit service is provided South of the Fraser.
The move comes as Surrey continues to voice its dissatisfaction with transit service there.
While it’s unclear whether either cities could actually cut ties with TransLink, it’s hoped the threat of the possibility will cause the province to review the situation.
Delta Mayor Lois Jackson said last week the municipality gives $12 million annually in taxes to TransLink, and she believes that money could be better spent elsewhere.
“It’s not the TransLink board that has to go to the polls and answer to everybody,” Jackson said. “It’s the local council and mayors.”
Delta is considering supporting a South-of-Fraser transit option.
“The message I got from our staff particularly is that we’re not being that well served, and it’s going to be a long time before we’re that well served,” Jackson said. “So we said, ‘let’s take a look at how (secession from TransLink) would look for us South of the Fraser’.”
Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts is equally frustrated with the lack of service being provided by TransLink.
Surrey pays the transportation authority $164 million annually, she said, adding this city has very little to show for it.
She said TransLink is “like the mafia. Once you’re in, you’re in, and you keep paying and paying and paying.”
She believes the notion of leaving TransLink is a non-starter, because legislation makes cities a part of it.
“As appealing as (secession) is—and I find it appealing—because $164 million a year could go a long way to building the transportation here,” cities are obligated to stay, Watts said.
She noted over the last decade, Surrey has funded huge projects north of the Fraser River.
While Surrey has had incremental increases to the bus system, rapid transit hasn’t had any improvements since the SkyTrain was completed in 1986.
That was when the population in Surrey was 240,000. That number is now double that, with no rapid transit expansion.
Ideas coming from the province are to add fees to property taxes and toll bridges to and from Surrey, which are extremely unpalatable here.
Watts continues to lobby the province for at-grade rail, which is cheaper and would go farther for the money than SkyTrain.
She says there has to be a complete analysis of the entire transit system.
Only then will areas South of the Fraser get the recognition they sorely deserve, Watts said.