A brief history of TransLink

TransLink | BCBusiness

The life and times of a troubled transit authority

TransLink is praised around the world as an agency that allows local politicians to have control over transit in their own region, but by critics, it’s painted as an entity that is living off the fat of local taxpayers, running a system that’s actually awash in money if only it were run efficiently

But if in doubt about which reality is true, just look at whether anyone else wants to join in or adopt it. No thanks, says Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz. Same, says Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard. There’s nothing about the funding situation that makes it appealing. And it’s a governance mess. “It’s not clear who’s in control,” says Leonard. “There are four masters: the provincial ministry, the TransLink board, Metro Vancouver and the mayors’ council. No normal business would have four bodies at the top.” Nor would it fight for 15 years about where to get money for it.

April 1999
TransLink is officially, legally born.

Jan-Dec 2000
The region spends the whole year with people arguing about a TransLink plan to impose a vehicle tax of $40 to $120, depending on vehicle weight.

January 2001
NDP Transportation Minister Mike Farnworth says the province won’t pass the legislation to authorize a vehicle levy.

March 2003
The pitch to build a Richmond-Airport-Vancouver transit line begins. The province and mayors will spend almost two years fighting over whether TransLink should pony up $400 million for it. It’s approved in December 2004 in an 8-4 vote.

March 2009
New TransLink CEO Tom Prendergast starts lobbying for new sources of revenue to provide $450 million a year for transit improvements. By July, Transportation Minister Shirley Bond has said no.

January 2011
Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom agrees to let TransLink increase fuel taxes from 15 cents to 17 cents a litre. Other revenue sources seem to be up for negotiation.

March 2012
Premier Christy Clark starts a long series of refusals to TransLink proposals for more money, starting with no to a vehicle levy.