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Public supports tax hikes: TransLink

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

TransLink says the public is supportive of tax hikes to pay for transit services. (FILE PHOTO)

TransLink says the public is supportive of tax hikes to pay for transit services. (FILE PHOTO)

More than half would "likely" vote yes in a referendum that would raise taxes or fees to pay for expanded transportation investments, especially transit, according to a new poll commissioned by TransLink.

The study, which was conducted before and after the regional Mayors' Council announced their $7.5-billion investment plan, found 56% of respondents would likely vote yes.

Interestingly, that figure - taken from after the announcement - actually fell from 61% support in the poll taken prior to the mayors' announcement. The organization's vice-president Bob Paddon told 24 hours on Thursday the results were "extremely encouraging."

"The people that responded expressed their support in a proposition that would authorize new taxes and fees for the new investments," he said.

The fundraising strategy respondents were most in favour of is a new tax on real estate development near transit hubs that benefitted from increased land values by proximity to public transit.

And if they had to choose, more than half would prefer a lower toll on all Lower Mainland bridges - rather than a higher toll on new bridges only.

"People are concerned about the future, they're concerned about the congestion we have today, they're concerned what's going to happen," he said. "For the most part - a car driver or a transit user - they both recognize more investment in public transit is going to be an important part of the solution."  

(Writer's note: TransLink had two sets of answers for its May 22-27 survey on likelihood to vote "yes" in a referendum. One had 57% support, the other had 61%.)

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