A list of five options to pay for the future of TransLink has been released by the region's mayors.
The options are:
. a 0.5 per cent regional sales tax
. a vehicle levy
. road pricing
. funding from the carbon tax, and
. land-value capture
"They're all worthy of discussion," said Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese.
The mayors came up with the options at a workshop in late January, and have now sent them to Minister of Transportation Mary Polak.
Froese said he's not wild about the idea of a vehicle levy, an idea that has been vocally rejected by Langley residents and politicians every time it was suggested over the past decade.
Getting some of the carbon tax and road pricing are the most interesting to Froese, he said.
"Each one of those funding options has a different list of pros and cons attached to it," said Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender.
Each will take some time to implement, and some are better than others for the long term.
Both Langley mayors emphasized that TransLink needs to solve its financial woes both in the short term and the long term.
The immediate goal is to get a short term solution, since the only other way to keep transit service levels up is more property tax, said Fassbender.
Both mayors said there's little appetite for that.
In the medium term, the region needs to expand transit services to places where it's already needed, said Fassbender.
The long-term goal is to come up with a plan to allow for future growth as the Lower Mainland copes with up to one million new residents over the next 30 to 40 years.
Froese said any future system needs to generate money continuously, not be a system of ad hoc taxes and fees designated as each new SkyTrain expansion is built.
Land-value capture, for example, would allow TransLink to work with communities and builders to rake in some of the money generated when transit drives up property values. Communities allow higher density around SkyTrain stations and other transit hubs, and TransLink is considering ways to benefit financially to fund its growth.