What’s up with the Evergreen Line?

What's up with the Evergreen Line

The Evergreen Line remains a hot topic here in the Tri-Cities. With construction slated to begin in early 2011, and a funding shortfall of $400 million, it’s still not clear how this project is going to happen.

In September, Transportation Minister Shirley Bond met with Metro Vancouver mayors to discuss TransLink funding. At that meeting, the mayors singed a Memorandum of Understanding, agreeing to talk about transit. Their long-term goal was to find money to build a “long-term sustainable transit system.”

In October, TransLink made a presentation to local mayors and councillors that proposed increasing property taxes. Under the plan, in order to pay for the Evergreen Line and the North Fraser Perimeter Road, an average household would pay an extra $31 a year.

Here’s an excerpt from their supplemental plan:

This plan provides the Mayors’ Council and the Province with the opportunity to work together to identify an alternative funding source before 2012. If an alternative source is not confirmed before 2012, this plan would be funded through an increase in property tax on all property types starting in 2012 …

TransLink also consulted on the possibility of introducing a registration fee on motor vehicles – known as a Transportation Improvement Fee (TIF). While such a fee may have significant potential as a more sustainable funding source, it is not being brought forward at this time … TransLink currently lacks the authority to effectively and efficiently collect and enforce the fee.

Local mayors, on the whole, did not react favourably. Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody mayors all took the position that TransLink needed to find funding that did not involve property taxation. However, all three took different approaches. Joe Trasolini voted against the Memorandum of Understanding, and hoped that the Mayors’ Council would vote down the property tax increase. Richard Stewart planned to vote in favour of the supplemental plan, in the hopes that alternative funding would be identified later. And Greg Moore called for more time to find other sources of transit funding.

Actually, when it comes to Evergreen, funding hasn’t been Greg Moore’s main priority. He has consistently called for an Evergreen station in Port Coquitlam. And he does make an excellent point about how changing the route to include PoCo would allow for greater flexibility in terms of future expansion. But I digress.

This brings us to last week. Local mayors were near-unanimous in their opposition to using property taxes to fund TransLink. And Metro Vancouver’s board of directors rejected the proposal to raise property taxes. In response, the Minister of Transportation and the Chair of the Mayors’ Council agreed to extend the deadline for confirmation of the region’s contribution to Evergreen Line until March 31, 2011. TransLink reports that this “should not” compromise the schedule for completing the Evergreen Line.

At this point, it seems that we are right where we have been for a very long time. Everyone is promising us that the Evergreen Line will be built, but no one’s sure exactly how. The money isn’t there. Let’s hope that our elected officials can find a solution soon. Or maybe you have a better idea. If so, visit bepartoftheplan.ca, and make your voice heard.

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  1. GVRD is keen to spend some large cash on a KM or so of road connecting United Blvd to Braid in New West. The whole project costs perhasp $180m. The problem solves nothing but moving a traffic jam from one side of the New West Coquitlam Border to the other. New West is way better off doing nothing at all.

    I suggest redirecting the $ for this project to the Evergreen Line. This would alleviate traffic in that area as well as the region as a whole. Traffic to the Braid Skytrain would shrink dramatically as pick up drop off from Coquitlam would be rerouted to a new TriCities Station.

    No Brainer.

    • Thanks for jumping in Will. Probably the best thing to do would be to build an overpass right from Highway 1 to the East-West Connector. If New West traffic isn’t the 7th circle of hell, it’s quite near it. I’ve been following your posts on the issue with great interest.

  2. Thanks for posting the link to the “Be Part of the Plan” public consultation.

    Considering the great lengths at taxpayer expense that TransLink went to to get public input, it is beyond arrogance for the province to pretend this document hasn’t existed.

    It was one year ago that the final report was issued with the funding sources the public had identified as palatable: http://www.translink.ca/en/Be-Part-of-the-Plan/Public-Consultation/Previous-Consultations/2010-10-Year-Plan/Funding-Choices/Funding-Options.aspx

  3. As I have commenting to local news etc…..

    (N)evergreen Line as the start date has been changed 5 times since originally promised in 2000.
    Was to be complete and running in 2004 for far less money but the delays of this gordo group only increased costs…………..and delays…..!!!!
    Gordo et all has announced projects over and over and over again……….So many announcements about what they will do, or have started to do, and when they launch a project, finish a phase or get to cut the ribbon more than once (start and finish).
    Lots of media money, press releases and photo opp’s but little real work for the good of all.


  1. […] for the BC NDP leadership. Having candidates from the Tri-Cities can only help, and you never know, the Evergreen Line might get built before my kids leave home. Kids still leave home eventually, […]