Mind the gap: A case study of TransLink’s legislation and the non-implementation of the Vehicle Levy in 2001

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The Greater Vancouver metropolitan region has developed a long history of regional collaboration among local municipalities. The 1990s marked a period of highly collaborative intergovernmental planning, which - with the support of the provincial government - resulted in the creation of TransLink, a regional transportation agency that manages major roads, bridges and public transit in the Greater Vancouver metropolitan area. This thesis investigates the provincial government’s decision to not allow TransLink to implement a vehicle levy in 2001. The research uses qualitative methods to examine this decision and the motivating factors that contributed to the provincial government’s approach to regional transportation in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The findings are that technical, organizational, and political factors influenced the provincial government’s vehicle levy decision. This thesis reveals how the provincial government’s political considerations were embedded within a series of events that framed the vehicle levy as a contentious issue. TransLink’s approach to the vehicle levy sparked public concern about fairness and equity, which led to cascading political problems and a lack of regional consensus, which thus resulted in the provincial government’s non-implementation of the levy.
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