National Post View: Vote yes, Vancouver

National Post

By now Vancouver-area residents will have received their ballots in the referendum, under way until May 29, on the ambitious $7.5-billion transit expansion plan proposed by their mayors — and the half-a-percentage-point increase in the provincial sales tax by which it is to be financed. They have been given plenty of reasons to vote No. Nevertheless, we find the reasons to vote Yes more persuasive.

We will freely confess that a sales tax is the second-best way to finance public transit. In an ideal world, the costs of building and operating transit would be borne by transit users themselves — through the farebox, not the ballot box. Private operators would raise funds for expansion schemes in the same way they do in other sectors, in anticipation of the revenues to be collected from willing customers. This would provide a truer test of demand, ensuring routes were built to meet the…

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