bc-090313-lions-gate-traffic-laanela

TransLink manages regional roads, bridges and public transit across the Lower Mainland of B.C. ((Mike Laanela/CBC))

Metro Vancouver mayors have voted to raise the regional gas tax, parking tax and transit fares to generate extra funding required to keep the area's transportation system running.

The plan will raise $130 million, in part by raising TransLink's gas tax by three cents per litre, putting the total TransLink tax at 15 cents a litre. The increase could come as soon as Jan. 1, 2010.

TransLink also wants to triple the sales tax for parking lots from the current seven per cent to 21 per cent. No specific date was set for that change, except that it also would occur sometime in 2010.TransLink, also known as the South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority, manages regional roads and public transit across the Lower Mainland.

The first fare increase to transit fares is coming on April 1, 2010, but will not affect all fares.

A one-zone fare will remain at $2.50 and a two-zone fare will stay at $3.75. But books of Fare Zone tickets will go up to $21 from $19 for one zone and to $31.49 from $28.50 for two zones.

The cost of monthly fare cards also will go up — to $81.03 from $73 for one zone and to $109.99 from $99 for two zones.

The funding plan was one of three options put forward by TransLink staff for the Metro Vancouver mayors council to consider.

The new funds will not provide any extra cash for TransLink to expand or improve regional transportation infrastructure.

"We aren't being given the tools, we don't have sustainable funding," Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said after Friday's meeting.

The mayors rejected a more ambitious plan to raise about $450 million to expand the regional transportation network, including building the proposed Evergreen rapid transit line for the Coquitlam area.