TransLink takes $40 million out of Township, Richter says

Township Councillor Kim Richter’s research presents the case for no new TransLink taxes from a personal as well as a Township-wide point of view.

For the taxes they pay to TransLink, all Township residents get are crumbs.

“We should a least get a slice of bread,” said Councillor Kim Richter.

Because of the grim prospect for better bus service and an extension of SkyTrain to Langley from the King George terminus, Township council has written a letter of protest to TransLink.

Richter’s research presents the case for no new taxes from a personal as well as a Township-wide point of view.

Filling the 64-litre tank of her minivan once a week, Richter uses 3,344 litres of gas a year. At that rate, she pays $501.60 a year to TransLink in gas taxes, which are currently 15 cents per litre.

“An additional two cent per litre tax means I will pay an additional $67 of gas tax per year to Translink over the $500 I already pay to them,” she said, noting that the two cents tax equals a 13.3 per cent increase.

There are 35,795 residential households in the Township and, with a conservative average of 1.5 cars per household, Translink receives an estimated $750 gas tax per year from each household in the Township, she said.

This equals a total estimated TransLink gas tax contribution from the Township of $26.8 million.

“In addition to the gas tax I pay to TransLink, I also pay them property taxes. In 2011, my GVTA (TransLink) property tax was $218.75.  Ten years ago, I paid GVTA $59.71 in property tax. This represents a whopping 266 per cent increase in property tax for TransLink over 10 years, or roughly 27 per cent per year.”

The Township’s 2011 total property tax remittance to TransLink was $12.9 million. Five years ago, the Township’s total remittance was $9.7 million and 10 years ago, $3.35 million.

“So between property taxes ($12.9 million) and estimated gas taxes ($26.8 million), Township residents pay TransLink $40 million per year,” Richter said.

Does Langley receive $40 million in TransLink services per year in return? According to the Township’s finance department, the Township received $1.4 million from Translink last year for roads.

“That still leaves $38.6 million and I definitely don’t think Langley Township gets $38.6 million worth of bus service,” Richter said.

A two cents per litre gas tax increase will bring TransLink an estimated extra $3.6 million per year from the Township alone, and the proposed $23 per household increase in property taxes will bring TransLink an extra $823,285 annually from the Township.

In 2011, Richter paid $721 of her disposable income ($502 gas tax plus $219 property tax) to TransLink.

“Based on Translink services received, I don’t think they’re worth another $90 of taxes per year out of my pocket ($67 more in gas taxes plus $23 more in property taxes). It’s just not fair for Langley Township residents.”