Referendum should not decide Vancouver transit plan, critics say
Residents of Metro Vancouver are voting in a referendum about a major new transportation initiative. But the biggest question in some people's minds isn't the one on the ballot — but whether a referendum is the way to make this kind of decision.
It's a hot topic in B.C. this week, as ballots began arriving in mailboxes. A sales tax increase of 0.5 per cent would generate an estimated annual revenue of $250-million.
That money would be used to fund part of an $8-billion, 10-year transit plan, that would see existing bus and SkyTrain services expanded, and new lines built. A new bridge and better cycling routes are also part of the plan.
But there are those questioning whether a plebiscite is really the best way to approach a major decision on transportation funding.
To discuss, we were joined by:
Jordan Bateman is B.C. Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. He's involved in the campaign against the new transit tax.
Anthony Perl is a professor of urban studies and political science at Simon Fraser University.
Jason Jordan is Executive Director of the Center for Transportation Excellence, which is an industry-funded group that supports Yes campaigns in American transportation referendums.
Premier Christy Clark and the Transportation Minister were both unavailable to speak with us today.
What do you think? Is a referendum a good way to decide on major funding decisions?
This segment was produced by The Current's Liz Hoath.