While it came as no surprise, Mayor Derek Corrigan is upset the majority of Metro Vancouver's mayors approved TransLink's funding plan on Friday.
The mayors voted 81 to 34 in favour of the plan through a weighted voting system based on population. The vote by municipalities was 15 in favour and six against.
Burnaby voted against the plan at the mayors' council meeting. The plan includes a two-cent gas tax increase, as well as a possible property tax hike.
"It's still disappointing because I know the additional gas tax and the property tax are not going to be well received by people around the Lower Mainland," Corrigan said.
The formula for covering TransLink's funding shortfall for its expansion projects included the gas tax increase - which requires provincial legislative approval - and a property tax increase in 2013, or another long-term revenue source, such as a regional carbon tax.
While the mayors did approve the plan, it was a cautious approval, according to Corrigan.
"The plan was damned with faint praise," he said, adding some of the comments from the mayors were, "this plan is not perfect," "it's a leap of faith that we might get some other source of funding," and "this is an effort to muddle through."
The decision was made with extreme reticence and apologies, he added.
In 2009, the mayors signed a declaration that they would not go back to property taxes to fund TransLink, after raising taxes to help the economically troubled transportation company.
"They're rich now, and you can expect that they'll be implementing all kinds of programs as a result of this," Corrigan said of TransLink, adding those programs would have future financial ramifications on the region.
"And in two years they'll be back to us with their hat out saying, 'We need more money,' " he added.
The Burnaby Municipal Greens, a Burnaby party with candidates running in November's civic election, sent out a press release stating the party supported the gas tax hike.
"Burnaby has benefited greatly from its two transit (SkyTrain) lines and a gas tax makes the most sense at this time," Green candidate Rick McGowan said in the release.
TransLink's plan was designed to cover the $400-million budget shortfall for the Evergreen Line, as well as other TransLink projects.
The Evergreen Line project is expected to cost $1.4 billion, according to the provincial transportation ministry.
The federal government would contribute $417 million and the provincial government would contribute $410 million. The provincial government has also agreed to cover an additional $173 million. TransLink's portion is $400 million, but its current budget only allowed for maintaining the system at this time.
The plan could allow the Evergreen Line project to move forward.
The funding could also be used to upgrade SkyTrain and SeaBus stations, increase SeaBus sailings and add a B-Line in Surrey as well as more bus routes in Surrey and Langley, a rapid transit line along Broadway in Vancouver and cycling routes throughout the region.
At the end of June, Transportation Minister Blair Lekstrom announced he was optimistic that work on the Evergreen Line could begin this year. The 11-kilometre line would run from Burnaby to Coquitlam and Port Moody.
The preliminary project schedule estimated construction would begin at the end of 2010, to be completed by the end of 2014.