Drivers in Metro Vancouver are likely going to be paying more at the pumps next year if a plan by Metro Vancouver mayors to pay for the Evergreen Rapid Transit line is passed into law.
On Wednesday the mayors agreed to a 2 cents per litre gas tax to help pay for the new rapid transit line. The new tax is expected to generate about $40 million a year in revenue.
The new tax has the support of the provincial goverment and is expected to be passed into law in the fall before coming into effect in the spring of 2012.
The announcement follows a meeting with the Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom last week.
Earlier this year the Canadian Taxpayers Federation released a study claiming Metro Vancouver drivers already pay the highest gasoline taxes in Canada, at 33 per cent.
In 2010 TransLink raised the existing tax on gas in Metro Vancouver to 15 cents per litre. The provincial carbon tax on gasoline is 5.5 cents per litre and will rise to 6.7 cents in July 2012.
Cash shortage stalled plans for line
Plans for the line have been stalled for years because Metro Vancouver and TransLink have not come up with $400 million dollars to cover their share of the funding for the project.
In the past the mayors have said they have not been able to raise the cash because property taxes are their only way to generate revenue and they can't continue to raise taxes.
Construction on the Evergreen Line project was originally expected to start in 2010 and be completed in 2014. But by 2009 only the provincial and federal governments had committed just over $400 million each to cover their share of the cost for the $1.4 billion project.
Nearly $200 million in other funding was expected to come from possible public-private partnerships or land development along the route.
If completed, the 11-kilometre rapid transit line will run from the Lougheed Town Centre in Burnaby to the Coquitlam Town Centre, via Port Moody. It is expected to use similar technology to Vancouver's SkyTrain and be fully integrated into the existing system.