Road tolls to pay for transit? Not without another referendum

Peter Fassbender, minister responsible for Translink

Plus, smart ideas to protect brains and nobody likes a trophy hunter

Taking a toll
After spring’s failed transit referendum, Metro Vancouver’s Mayors’ Council needs to find new ways to raise money for transportation projects, starting with Surrey’s light-rail line. Federal and provincial governments say they’ll chip in two-thirds of the project’s $2.1-billion cost, but local government has to come up with the rest. For that the mayors propose mobility pricing—collecting tolls on highways and bridges. According to last week’s meeting agenda, they see this as a way “to generate new and sustainable revenue and shape transportation demand.” But the strategy, designed to ease congestion, might have hit a roadblock already. While the council called for collaboration with the province and the region, Peter Fassbender, minister responsible for Translink, put on the brakes. He said that mobility pricing is not approved by current legislation. For that they need permission from the voters through—you guessed it—another referendum. (via Vancouver Sun)

Helmet help
BrainShield—functional decals placed on both sides of a football helmet—can drastically reduce the incidence of injuries resulting in concussions, say SFU developers. And after six years of research and testing, they are now available and sampled by the B.C. Lions. The researchers observed that helmets are designed to protect against direct impact, but obstacles usually hit the head at an angle, causing a sharp twisting and compression in the brain. The BrainShield is made up of layers that shift, absorbing and mitigating this impact. Tested last year on SFU’s football team as part of a holistic approach to prevent head injuries, the decals were effective: concussions were down to four from 14 the previous year

Animal matters
British Columbians and Albertans are united in their opposition to trophy hunting (hunting for sport as opposed to meat) and killing animals for their fur, but the neighbours are less sure how they feel about zoos, aquariums and rodeos. According to an Insights West online survey, 91 per cent of British Columbians and 84 per cent of Albertans say they oppose hunting animals for sport. Residents of the two Western Canadian provinces support eating animals (85 per cent in B.C., 88 per cent in Alberta) and hunting animals for meat (73 per cent in B.C., 81 per cent in Alberta). Killing animals for their fur is also particularly unpopular for both. But while almost two thirds of Albertans (64 per cent) favour keeping animals in zoos or aquariums, that percentage drops to 48 in B.C. And while more than half of Albertans support using animals in rodeos, only a third of British Columbians like that idea.

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