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9/18/2012



Rail News: Passenger Rail

TransLink proposal calls for cost-cutting, drawing on reserve fund


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TransLink officials are proposing a three-year transportation plan that would find $98 million in agency "efficiencies" each year and draw down on a reserve fund to fill a funding gap needed to maintain existing services and allow some planned improvement projects to proceed, officials at the Vancouver, British Columbia, agency announced yesterday.

"We are delivering an integrated transportation system to keep people and goods moving in the region, while making the most of every dollar we have," said TransLink Chairwoman Nancy Olewiler said in a prepared statement. Over the next three years, we will live within our means and only deliver those services for which we have the necessary funding."

The board evaluated each project and placed priority on those that address immediate needs such as overcrowding, but also support long-term goals, said Executive Vice President of Strategic Planning and Public Affairs Robert Paddon.

"While this plan will not fulfill these goals entirely, we are doing everything we can to keep us on a path to a more sustainable future in a fiscally responsible way," he said.

In April, the Regional Transportation Commissioner rejected a supplementary fare increase and made several recommendations for more efficient operations at TransLink. Since then, the agency's budget has been complicated by other challenges such as lower-than-expected fuel tax revenue, lower-than anticipated fare and toll revenue, and the deferral of the sale of surplus real estate, agency officials said.

On Nov. 1, the agency will host a public meeting to discuss the proposed plan before it is submitted to the commissioner for review.


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