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TransLink 2010 budget maintains services levels, cuts costs

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Vancouver's TransLink's Board of Directors has approved a 2010 budget that will preserve its roads and transit program. Revenue increases and cost cutting initiatives have eliminated the structural deficit and TransLink will maintain services and keep equipment and facilities in a state of good repair. Funding levels do not allow TransLink to proceed with further expansion of the transportation system in 2010.

In his
report to the Board, CEO Ian Jarvis said the focus in 2010 would be to maintain
the existing road and transit program while following through on initiatives to
contain and reduce costs. Jarvis said providing transit services during the
Olympics will be one of the more exciting challenges next year, as the transit
system looks to handle a sudden spike in demand when ridership hits an expected
one million people per day during the Games.

Operating
costs, debt servicing and capital repayments will total an estimated C$1.225
billion. Revenues in 2010 are forecast to be C$1.146 billion, with the C$79
million difference covered by TransLink’s reserve fund.

Revenues in
2010 are expected to be C$146 million higher than in 2009, mainly as the result
of the Mayors’ Council approval of C$130 million in new revenue from an increase
in transit fares, the motor fuel tax and the sales tax on off-street, paid
parking. The proposed increase in transit fares for FareSaver tickets and
monthly passes next April, coupled with an expected 7.4 per cent lift in
ridership, is expected to increase fare revenues by $42 million to $43 million.
The Regional Transportation Commissioner must approve the FareSaver ticket
increase before it can be implemented.

Next year’s
total budget for operations at TransLink, its subsidiaries and contractors will
be C$916 million, C$43 million higher than in 2009.  Transit accounts for
most of the operations due to the additional ‘full-year’ operating costs for
the Canada Line and Golden Ears Bridge, and the Canada Line concessionaire
capital payment and new buses and the 48 new SkyTrain cars. After $23 million
in cost cutting, the 2010 transit operation budget has been set at $843
million.

2010 will
mark the third consecutive year of significant cost cutting and efficiency
efforts at TransLink and its operating subsidiaries. In total, TransLink has
cut C$33 million from their budget requirements next year while preserving road
and transit services.

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