Langley bus exchange

‘The reality is that if we want better transportation in Langley, it comes at a cost’

Like a broken record, Langley politicians have complained for years that residents are paying more for TransLink than they receive in transportation services.

No one, apparently not even the politicians, questioned this belief.

When Nathan Pachal, a member of South Langley On Trax and an advocate for light rail, filed a Freedom of Information request, he found that the reverse is true: Langley taxpayers are getting more than they pay for, for all forms of transportation available to them.

“In 2010, TransLink actually contributed more to Langley in transportation (about $45 million more) than it took in,” Pachal said.

The point of his research was “is to wake people up to the fact that TransLink isn’t screwing over Langley,” he said.

He added: “At the end of the day, we are getting more from being in TransLink than if we went it alone. The reality is that if we want better transportation in Langley, it comes at a cost.”

Data sent by TransLink to Pachal showed that the 502 bus service, which connects Aldergrove and Langley to the King George and Central SkyTrain stations in Surrey, cost $7,484,943, while the 501, which runs between Langley Centre and Surrey Central, cost $3,318,469. The 595 bus, connecting Langley Centre to Haney Place in Maple Ridge, cost $2,440,060, and the 590 service, which connects Brookswood and Surrey Central SkyTrain via Langley City, Willoughby and Walnut Grove, cost $862,270.

With the five community bus routes, which cost between $295,760 and $790,000 each, the total equals $16,213,343.These numbers, which do not include insurance or capital costs, are from 2010.

During that year, City and Township residents paid TransLink $15,321,538 in property taxes and an estimated $16,000,000 in gas taxes.

Those figures suggest that taxpayers are paying $15 million for service beyond the Langley border. Not so, Pachal said.

In 2010, TransLink spent almost $2.3 million on the major road network in Langley “and cut a cheque for $90 million for the Golden Ears Bridge,” he said.

“Even when you factor in the $29 million in toll revenue from the Golden Ears Bridge, it turns out that TransLink subsidized the bridge by $61 million. So in 2010, TransLink actually contributed more to Langley in transportation than it took in. Let’s not forget that Langley citizens also use SkyTrain, the West Coast Express, and other regional transportation infrastructure,” Pachal  said.

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