Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Anti-Gateway gang high on something!

Black Press columnist Tom Fletcher had an amusing column last week in which he likened the conspiracy-minded anti-Gateway movement to a “Council of Canadians meeting held in the middle of a large patch of magic mushrooms.”

Perhaps Fletcher is onto something here. Could it be that the real objective of the anti-Gateway movement is to keep their favourite magic mushroom patches secret and intact? Maybe the best magic mushrooms grow in the flight path of the Port Mann’s future twin and that’s what their real issue is.

One thing is certain: The anti-Gateway gang are definitely high on something. How else can we explain their persistent irrational belief that traffic gridlock can be solved by buses alone and that we've already built all the bridges and roads the Lower Mainland will ever need?

Carl Congestion

Sunday, December 2, 2007

More on the new TransLink

Dianne Watts is the first chair of TransLink's new mayors' council. This is outstanding news--we need the kind of fresh thinking and consensus building that Mayor Watts can offer.

Meanwhile, the Park the Tax folks issued a press release on the new TransLink:
The Park the Tax Coalition representing more than 23,000 small medium and large businesses and their customers supports the BC Government’s passage of Bill 43, the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority Amendment Act, to reorganize the current TransLink governance and funding structure.

“The Park the Tax Coalition applauds the BC Government’s decision to adopt the recommendations of the TransLink Governance Review Panel and get on with the business of building a truly efficient and responsibly financed transportation system that promotes the socio-economic development and growth of the region into the future,” said Ted Williams, Chair of the Park the Tax Coalition.

The Park the Tax Coalition, working in cooperation with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, spearheaded one of the largest tax fighting coalitions in British Columbia’s history, bringing together more than 23,000 small, medium and large businesses and their customers across the Lower Mainland opposed to TransLink’s ill-conceived, unprecedented parking area tax.

This was a tax that unfairly targeted one economic sector, was inefficient to implement and administer, was wildly unpopular and contributed only marginal public transportation revenue. In short, it was bad tax policy.

“We want to thank the BC Government for making the right decision and for taking action to create a fiscally accountable transit authority, and, for eliminating the parking tax,” added Mr. Williams.

The Coalition looks forward to working cooperatively with the new transportation authority called the South Coast Transportation Authority to achieve revenue sources that are fair, equitable and transparent, and, transportation planning that promotes reasonably financed transit services and transportation solutions to encourage the sustainable social and economic vitality of the region.

Get Moving BC also supports the new TransLink:
New legislation that removes TransLink from the control and influence of politicians and puts day-to-day operations and planning into the hands of a professional board of directors is a welcome step and one that’s long overdue says Get Moving BC spokesperson Sheri Wiens.

Wiens points to Vancouver International Airport which took the very same step fifteen years ago by putting a professional board of directors in place. Today, she says, Vancouver International Airport is one of the world’s most highly regarded airports with numerous awards to its name.

Wiens says the list of accomplishments and awards achieved through the efforts and guidance of the airport’s professional board is not only impressive it’s indisputable.

For example: construction of a north runway that has substantially relieved aircraft congestion; construction of a new international passenger terminal and trans-border terminal; opening of a 400-room, four-diamond hotel attached to the terminal facilities; improvement of gate areas and passenger lounges; renovation of the South terminal building; and construction of a new parking structure to name just a few.

As for awards, Wiens points to the fact that, for the second consecutive year, the airport has been named Canada's top airport in the Travel Agents’ Choice Readership Survey.

The airport has also been acclaimed as one of B.C.’s Top 30 employers and rated as the No. 6 airport in the world in its size category (15 million to 25 million passengers) and No. 4 overall in the Americas (2006).

“Considering the obvious success that a professional board can achieve, why should the people of the Lower Mainland settle for the mediocre results we’ve seen from TransLink’s current board? The airport’s successes over the last fifteen years more than demonstrate the superiority of a professional board when it comes to transportation infrastructure.”

Wiens adds that TransLink’s existing board and governance model is one of the biggest reasons the Lower Mainland is so far behind when it comes to transportation infrastructure.

“Why shouldn’t the people of the Lower Mainland have an award-winning transportation system on par with our award-winning airport,” she asks. “Why should we shoot for second best when we can have the best?”

Wiens says the airport’s professional board has allowed the airport to attain outstanding success and implement badly needed improvements in a timely manner; adding that fifteen years ago the airport’s professional board set out to build a better airport for B.C. and they did.

“Solving the Lower Mainland’s transportation problems requires that we tap into the best minds and resources available,” says Wiens, “professionals who know how to get the job done.”

Wiens and Get Moving BC believe it’s time to put best practices to work for the Lower Mainland’s gridlocked transportation system by reinventing TransLink and putting some real transportation expertise in place.