Re: Proposed sales tax increase.
If we vote yes, then we get to pay for SkyTrain expansion north of the Fraser River, while we get the old style streetcar lines. If we vote yes, we get to pay for construction of a new Pattullo Bridge, and when it’s complete, we get to pay a toll to use it.
There are two main issues in play here. Surrey taxpayers have paid hundreds of millions of dollars to TransLink for a SkyTrain link that crosses the Fraser and ends abruptly just over the river. That was completed 30 years ago. Since then, what have we received for our millions in transit taxes?
Secondly, the mayor of Surrey should follow the process established now, which sees her as a $50,000 advocate of the plebiscite process, supporting her vision of transit .
I challenge her to go to the voters in Surrey and ask them to support paying a tax to provide SkyTrain to municipalities north of the Fraser while accepting a far less-expensive ground level version for us, as well as Langley and Delta.
The second question to ask the people of Surrey is, do you want to not only pay to build a new Pattullo Bridge, but also pay a toll to use it after you have paid to build it?
While crossing the bus lanes at Surrey Central recently, I noticed a bus with two ads for the “yes” side. I thought this is pretty unequal. They have access to unlimited funds while the “no” side, well, they can thank Jordan Bateman of the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation.
The yes side has resorted to all manner of officials chipping in with contrived nominal benefits for the yes vote. They even tell us this will build the Pattullo Bridge. I believe it will be built regardless.
The sore point with me is TransLink. I want to see a wholesale change. They have been patting themselves on the back for years, telling us how great a job they are doing. They even scapegoated an electrician for a lengthy outage when it was clearly a systems and management fault.
I absolutely see the need to fund transit. But there is no way I want to give them any money willingly unless they make significant management changes.
Dave Bains, Surrey
Paying a lot for little service
Surrey has been the fastest-growing community in the Lower Mainland for four decades. We are also aware that almost a half-billion in Surrey tax dollars have been paid to TransLink in the past two decades, yet Surrey SkyTrain service has never been extended past King George Boulevard. We funded all new SkyTrain lines to other areas.
Also, Surrey residents are now paying tolls on most bridges serving this community. Please, do not ask us to increase our taxes for service that never develops.
Please vote no.
More money, same old crappy roads
Here’s my question for Mayor Linda Hepner and her “yes” campaign cohorts. How in the heck is a new four-lane Pattullo Bridge supposed to ease traffic congestion?
A new four-lane Pattullo will carry the same amount of traffic as the present four-lane bridge. It will still offload cars into the antiquated 1950s-era New Westminster road system and Surrey’s laughable King George/Bridgeview intersection.
The only way it might ease congestion is by chasing traffic over to the free alternative Alex Fraser Bridge and dumping it into already congested North Delta.
Now, if the new Pattullo was a six-lane bridge with road improvements on both sides of the Fraser to efficiently move traffic in a comprehensive plan, that would be worth paying tolls for.
But to ask South Fraser commuters to pay another fee for the same old traffic system in the name of reducing congestion – when the reality is New Westminster won’t budge on its road system and the old bridge might collapse – is a bad joke.
J. Prince, Surrey
Don’t feed the bears
If and when the Pattullo Bridge or the George Massey tunnel are replaced, the new crossings will both be tolled. That is, the 0.5-per-cent transportation tax will have no impact on financing these two projects, and won’t determine when, or if, they will be built.
Mayor Linda Hepner says that LRT will be built, even if we vote “no” on this referendum.
Another concern I have is if we vote “yes” for this increase in taxes, it will be like feeding a wild bear. There will be more and more tax referendums asking for more and more money, for a never-ending increase in taxes.
Since TransLink is an unelected body accountable to no one but themselves, I am still looking for a reason to vote yes. So far, I have not found one.
Fred Perry, Surrey