TransLink projects deficit as revenue sources run dry 0
TransLink’s 2013 business plan projects a $65-million deficit this year, according to a report released Wednesday.
And as much as $20 million more in “financial risks” is not included in that figure, based on costs expected to address expired labour contracts and money needed for Compass Card installation.
TransLink is expected to dip into its reserves again, bringing the reserve dollars left available to $222 million. The transport authority also expected several revenue sources it didn’t receive.
“In particular, the (TransLink) Commissioner did not approve the supplemental fare increase for 2013, the province and Mayors’ Council did not find a new $30-million annual revenue source, and the forecasts for fuel tax revenues are down significantly,” the report noted.
The Mayors’ Council, earlier this month, pitched a regional provincial sales tax increase of up to 0.5%, to potentially raise $250 million.
Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said there’s been lots of discussion with Victoria but no progress made. He also questioned whether TransLink’s numbers are accurate, pointing to a recent TransLink Commissioner report that suggested the transit authority’s deficit was overestimated.
“The real point is, even if it’s overstated, there’s a constant deficit,” he said. “The system needs to expand. That’s the mandate TransLink’s been given, (but) they haven’t been given the financial tools with which to do it.”
B.C. Transport Minister Mary Polak said she would be meeting with the Mayors’ Council on Monday.
“The province doesn’t hold all the cards on funding,” she said, noting the mayors’ position is not enviable.
“The question the Mayors’ Council is putting forward at this stage is whether or not we should add additional ways for them to generate revenue.”
Meanwhile, Jordan Bateman, B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, said the report suggests TransLink is “spending more than they take in,” noting the projected $1.47 billion revenue intake for 2013.