Public transit has an impact on property values (both positively and negatively) so isn’t it only right that the good folks at Translink get some of that boom-time real estate money?
The new TransLink board is looking at real-estate partnerships to solve the problem of spiralling costs for Metro Vancouver’s burgeoning public transit system, says board chairman Dale Parker.
In an interview with The Province, Parker said there are opportunities for TransLink to cash in on the added real-estate value created by rapid-transit lines and station hubs, and TransLink should look at them.
“One of the things we’d certainly like to look at is what are the opportunities for TransLink to benefit from the real-estate development that goes on around the stations,” Parker said following a Monday night public hearing on the property-tax issue. “There’s going to be increased density — can we participate and benefit in the sense of partnerships in real estate?”
Yes. Can we please? Apparently we can!
The board was created in November by the B.C. government, which abolished the old governance structure and a TransLink board made up of elected municipal politicians.
“The new legislation gave us greater scope for participating in ownership around the lines from what we were able to do before,” said Parker.
And what a perfect time to have public transit speculate on real estate! After scrapping a very unpopular tax on owners of non-residential parking spaces the Translink board is looking to make up the 18 million dollars elsewhere:
Rather than slash the $900-million-plus budget for the fiscal year beginning April 1 by $18 million, the board is expected to levy the property tax in some way that stings homeowners and business owners equitably.
Currently, business owners are taxed at a rate five times that of a homeowner for properties of comparable value.
“One thing the board does want to do is focus on what other sources of revenue, certainly other than property tax and fare, because those two may very well be close to being maxed out,” said Parker. “The public is demanding a much larger expanded system and we’re going to have to figure out how to pay for that.”
I’ve got an idea! How about pull-tabs or scratch and win? Hey! You never know!