Editorial — It’s time to vote in transportation plebiscite

There is a simple solution to worrying about turnout. Fill out your ballot and encourage others to vote.

There is worry in ‘no’ circles, as the campaign over the plan to increase the sales tax to fund transit expansion continues, that the ‘yes’ side may win because of voter apathy.

Polls have consistently shown that the ‘no’  side is way ahead. However, media coverage of the issue has dropped dramatically since the ballots were actually mailed out to voters. As of last week, about 15 per cent of those ballots had been returned, with the Vancouver figures being over 23 per cent. Most observers expect the measure to pass in Vancouver.

There is a simple solution to worrying about turnout. Fill out your ballot and encourage others to vote.

It is even possible to fill them out and drop the completed ballots off at a “plebiscite service office” at Willowbrook Shopping Centre. The office there is open during mall hours, but closed on Sundays.

Those who did not receive ballots can also make arrangements to get one through that office, until May 15.

There is no reason not to cast a ballot in this plebiscite. The decision made by those who choose to participate will have an impact on the Metro Vancouver area, and on residents’ incomes.

The ‘yes’ side says doing nothing is not an option. It cites increased congestion, which will result from growth and no transit improvements, and says that will cost all people who travel about the region on a regular basis.

The ‘no’ side is pointing out that an extra 0.5 per cent sales tax will impact people whenever they shop in the region. While it will not apply to items exempt from the provincial sales tax, most items will have a 7.5 per cent sales tax added to them, if the voters back the plan put together by the Mayors’ Council.

Langley residents traditionally have had strong opinions on transportation and transit issues. Many have voiced those opinions in the past few months.

Now it’s time to make a decision — to mark the ballots that have been distributed, and return them to Elections BC, by mail or at the local office.