Tuesday, February 12, 2008

TransLink secret meetings derailed

Metro Vancouver's public transit system and roads are managed by a government organization called TransLink. It is structured like a municipality; it has the power to both tax and spend on local transportation. This is why the lack of accountability to taxpayers of the board of directors is so disturbing.

In January the board chair Dale Parker said the once-public meetings would now be held in private. Then, during that first secret meeting, it approved a 500% increase in meeting fees, a 150% increase in the retainer paid to the Chair, and the establishment of a $25,000 retainer paid to each director when none existed before.

If this is any indication of the size of TransLink's future property and gasoline tax hikes, hold on to your wallets!

One way to enhance accountability would be for the provincial government to follow through on a 2001 election platform commitment to hold a referendum before imposing any new TransLink taxes or levies. Transportation decisions must be made under the spotlight of public scrutiny, not rubber stamped in secret meetings.

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