TransLink decides to sell some of its properties—a move likened to "cannibalizing" itself.
Across the US, many transit agencies have reduced their services in the past three years as tax revenues have fallen. Now some of the same pressures are being felt in greater Vancouver, British Columbia, a region known for its array of public transit options.
The transportation authority TransLink says it will likely be forced to sell off some of its properties just to cover operating costs over the next three years, The Globe and Mail reports. The sell-off is a response to falling gasoline-tax revenues and other financial problems.
“In municipal operations, you usually can’t fund operations by selling assets, by cannibalizing yourself,” said TransLink council chair Richard Walton, who is also mayor of North Vancouver. “When organizations in the private or public sector have to do this, it’s a bad sign.”
An increase in the gasoline tax took effect in April, but it has failed to generate additional revenue because people are shifting to riding buses, car-pooling, using more fuel-efficient vehicles, or purchasing gas outside the region, the paper says. Among the properties that may be sold is a disused bus garage.
A separate article in The Globe and Mail pointed out that Surrey, a low-density, 468,000-person municipality southeast of Vancouver, has been hoping to shift toward more sustainable development with the help of transit expansion. Urban consultant Brent Toderian, former planning director of Vancouver, argued that what's at stake could be be "the difference between separated land use, car-oriented patterns and a more compact, sustainable, transit-oriented pattern.”
Another article in the same paper noted that in major cities across Canada, a growing number of office tenants want to be in locations close to transit, even if it costs more. Reporter Frances Bula wrote that buildings on top of transit have seen their vacancy rates shrink, while older business parks some distance away from transit have had trouble filling their space.
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