Well, what to make of Colin Hansen and Shirley Bond’s announcement this afternoon that the province will do a big review of Translink and the Ferries?  Let’s start with the questions we’d actually want answered by a big review:

  • Is Translink going to get the $450 million a year it needs to stick to its present development plans for the next decade?
  • Assuming it will get that $450 million a year, what level of government will the money come from?
  • And related, will the $450 million a year come from taxes that nudge people towards taking public transit (like a vehicle levy or congestion pricing) or from taxes that don’t do anything to get people out of their cars (like property taxes)?

Will the review address these questions?  Presumably we’ll learn more later.  But right now, Bond makes it sound like they’re mostly going to be interested in reviewing Translink’s administrative structure.  So unless she thinks Translink loses $450 million a year overpaying its board, I’m going to say, no, the big review isn’t going to touch the important questions. Which raises the question, why the kabuki?  What’s the province’s angle here?

For his part, Hansen took the review’s announcment as an opportunity to showcase some stunningly contentless verbiage:

During these challenging economic times, we must ensure that services provided to ratepayers are done so in a way that is financially sustainable and provides maximum value for all British Columbians.

Hansen, you had me at “during these challenging economic times. . .”