April 17, 2024

CPS

Travel Adventure

TransLink’s financial woes outlined in new report

2 min read


The next decade could be a bumpy ride for TransLink, according to a new report outlining the financial challenges the agency is facing.


The 20-page report explains TransLink’s significant structural deficit first arose when ridership plummeted during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the number of people using transit has rebounded, the agency still isn’t seeing the revenue from fares that it anticipated before the pandemic.


At the same time, inflation has increased the cost of labour and construction, driving up operating expenses.


According to the document, if additional revenue is not found, there will be a funding gap of $4.7 billion between 2026 and 2033.


“To fill this gap, TransLink would need approximately $600 million per year in new revenues starting in 2026,” reads the reports.


The report also explains that TransLink is required by law to have its revenue fully cover expenditures over 10 years, which is unlikely due to the funding gap growing over time.


As a result, the report warns, that it could have to cut 60 per cent of services to balance the budget.


Last March, the report says the province committed an additional $478.9 million in relief funding until 2025 to avoid service reductions and fare increases above 2.3 per cent.


This report was released ahead of Wednesday’s meeting of the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation.


In a statement, B.C. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming didn’t address the report directly, but wrote that the province is following through on its commitment for transit funding with $2.4 billion in capital funding for TransLink’s 2022 investment plan, which includes the Surrey-Langley SkyTrain project and bus fleet electrification.


“We’ve also advanced all remaining payments on the Golden Ears Bridge,” wrote Fleming.


“We are actively working with TransLink on identifying potential long-term, sustainable regional revenue options to help ensure a robust transit system long into the future to support priority expansion projects included in TransLink’s 10-Year Priorities.”


The minister also noted that the province is working with the federal government to accelerate their new Permanent Transit Fund.  

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