The Fraser Institute

The Fraser Institute

March 25, 2015 09:30 ET

The Fraser Institute: Metro Vancouver Municipalities and TransLink Could Fund Transit Expansion With Existing Budgets

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - March 25, 2015) - TransLink and the municipalities of Metro Vancouver, which dramatically increased spending over the past decade, could fund transit expansion with their existing budgets, finds a new commentary released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

Over the next two months, Metro Vancouver residents will vote in a plebiscite to decide whether they want to pay $250 million more in sales tax each year to help fund a $7.5 billion capital expansion plan, mainly for public transit.

"Before requiring Metro Vancouverites to pay higher taxes, municipal governments and TransLink could scrutinize their existing budgets to find savings," said Charles Lammam, director of fiscal studies at the Fraser Institute and co-author of How existing budgets could fund Metro Vancouver's transit expansion plan.

The commentary outlines the dramatic spending increases among Metro Vancouver municipalities (73 per cent, collectively) and at TransLink (105 per cent) over the past decade.

These spending increases outpaced spending growth by the B.C. provincial government (43 per cent), the federal government (46 per cent) and the combined rate of inflation and population growth in the region (31 per cent) over the same time period.

Incidentally, in 2013, compensation (wages, benefits, pensions) for employees consumed more than half of TransLink's operating budget (52 per cent to be precise).

"To find savings, TransLink and Metro Vancouver municipalities could start by looking at employee compensation and ensuring that wages and benefits for government employees are in line with private-sector norms for similar positions," Lammam said.

For the full commentary, click here.

Charles Lammam is in Vancouver and available to media.

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The Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute's independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit www.fraserinstitute.org

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