Andy McKay

Jul 16, 2011

Gas tax in Vancouver

Translink wants to increase gas prices to fund expansion of the skytrain:

a two-cents-a-litre fuel tax to pay for the long-delayed Evergreen Line, a $1.4-billion SkyTrain project that has been stalled for years as governments try to figure out how to help pay for it.

Globe and Mail

This has promoted some foaming at the mouth for the motoring lobby:

Auto transportation is key to our freedom and prosperity.

The Province

Really? I thought that the vast quantities of resources in BC were the key to prosperity.

TransLink, which features cyclists on its mission page, is decidedly driver-unfriendly.

The Province

There's not just a picture of a cyclist, there's a picture of two cyclists on that page, golly. Yet Translink also seems to fund lots of the road network as well (note the truck picture on that page).

Certainly, we need to put the brakes on empire-building transit execs living high off the hog -and start making life easier for the average, taxed-out motorist.

The Province

Why is that exactly? Should we all be driving more to work. That's just ridiculous we all know how that works out.

If the Evergreen line is going to be funded, then increasing the gas tax is the simplest and fairest way to do it.

It's simplest because the infrastructure already exists to collect the tax. All the needs to be done is to ratchet it up by a few more cents. That's much simpler than making up a new tax like a vehicle levy.

It's fairest because its up to the user how much you pay. It is directly related to usage of the transportation infrastructure, unlike say a property tax increase. It discourages the use of gas guzzling cars and that's good for everyone. It encourages ride sharing, working from home, shorter commutes and ultimately not driving.

Increases in gas prices are the main way to get serious about conservation, get people into more fuel efficient cars and ultimately onto public transit.

Saying all that, I'm not sure the Evergreen line should be built. I'm still boggled that for years there was no skytrain line out to the airport whilst an extensions was built to Lougheed Mall. I've always thought that a corridor west from commercial to Kits would make more sense. And how about the there and available Arbutus Corridor which seems like an easy win to develop.