TransLink audit complete, not enough savings found 0
The B.C. government found an additional $41 million of potential savings per year in its audit of TransLink, but that’s still not enough to meet transit expansion needs in Metro Vancouver.
Released Tuesday, the audit report was ordered by Premier Christy Clark to find savings to pay for more than 100,000 new hours of services, upgrades to seven SkyTrain stations and a B-Line bus along King George Boulevard without having to resort to more property tax hikes or other revenue sources requested by the region’s mayors for transit projects.
“This is good news, but it’s still not enough to meet the future transit expansion needs of Metro Vancouver,” said Mary Polak, B.C.’s minister of transportation.
The audit results showed total possible savings of $139 million when combined with the $98 million already identified by TransLink’s 2013 base plan released in September.
Cost-cutting measures in the audit include reducing bus service frequencies during weekdays to save an additional $1.1 million.
The audit also found additional cost-saving possibilities in areas such as low-performing routes and driver scheduling, on top of those identified in TransLink’s draft 2013 base plan.
Polak sent a letter Tuesday to the chair of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation, asking it to work closely with TransLink on a long-term transportation “vision” for Metro Vancouver.
“They already have a vision. The problem isn’t a vision,” said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie, who sits on the council. “The problem is funding sources, and as long as Victoria is unwilling to provide more funding sources, we’re going nowhere.”
Brodie is skeptical of some of the proposed budget cuts.
“They want TransLink to adopt a less conservative approach to budgeting which would allow TransLink to eliminate average budget surpluses of $30 million.” Brodie said TransLink’s past surpluses have been used to balance their budget so far.
Langley Mayor Peter Fassbender said the $41 million in additional efficiencies are not as cut and dried as people think. “They result in cutbacks in service by eliminating inefficient routes, and while that may seem on paper like a good thing to do, it does affect people.”
TransLink’s new 30-year regional transportation strategy is due Aug. 2013 and is required by legislation.