The province’s promise for a third-party review of B.C. Transit’s governance model is a good start at giving Greater Victorians more control of our transportation options.
The logical next step is to ensure the results of the review include a chance to take big-ticket items, such as light rail, directly to the people for a vote.
A referendum on the proposed billion-dollar project, as well as plebiscites on other major issues affecting public transportation, would help give the anticipated new masters of local transit a much clearer mandate.
People deserve to have their say on the future of the Crown corporation’s operations in the region.
For months, province-wide, mayors have told the government they’re not satisfied with B.C. Transit’s current governance model.
These politicians voiced concerns about transparency, accountability and communication with the public.
The current Victoria Regional Transit Commission, though consisting of elected representatives, has little say over decisions made out of the public’s eye by B.C. Transit bureaucracy. That has to change.
And while locally elected representatives should have a say in transit governance, the taxpayers they represent should also be able to weigh in on whether they want to put their money behind a costly light-rail transit network for Greater Victoria.
The idea already has some momentum. The Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce has been calling for such a referendum, even before the province announced its review.
Expectation are growing and whoever is elected to local councils on Nov. 19 will be wise to heed the will of the people.