TransLink Restructuring – Amendments the GVTA Act
Yesterday the BC government put out a Press Release about its plans to “make Translink more accountable”. It is pretty thin on detail, for that you have to go to the Backgrounder. That actually sets out the amendments. The important bit is
The board of directors will be appointed by the Mayors’ Council from a list of qualified individuals submitted by a screening panel. The screening panel will consist of five persons representing all key transportation sectors in the region, plus appropriate financial and business experience.
§ Each of the of the following will appoint one member to this board:
o Minister of Transportation;
o Mayors’ Council;
o Institute of Chartered Accountants of BC;
o Vancouver Board of Trade;
o Greater Vancouver Gateway Society.
What seems to me to be most significant is that the only interests represented are those of the minority. In terms of Translink spending, most of it is devoted to the transit system, yet there is no one here who represents transit users. Indeed I doubt if any of these people ever get on a bus. And why are Chartered Accountants thought to be the fount of wisdom? (A good accountant is the one who answers the question “What’s two plus two?” with the answer “What figure did you have in mind?”) Isn’t one of the critical issues in this region the development of transit to increase transportation choice? Gordon Campbell is now on record (thanks to recent broadcasts on PBS and the BBC) that he wants to see a change from business as usual, and he claims to have the boldest targets for greenhouse gas reductions in this province. Perhaps Kevin has not been listening very carefully to what his boss has been saying. Certainly we cannot expect the Greater Vancouver Gateway Society to deliver these greenhouse gas reductions, since they still believe that doubling the width of Highway 1 will somehow reduce emissions. And why does this self appointed group of special interests get a seat at the table? If they are qualified then why not BEST or SPEC? Or even BRU. Or why not COMPACT? These are people who can be expected to understand something about transit, since they not only use it but also represent views that increasing transit service should be central to Translink’s remit. They are also the least likely to buy, uncritically, into the views put forward by Translink staff.
I wonder if Ken Dobell will be too busy to take up one of these seats?
(This post has already appeared on the trans-action listserve)