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Leap Ahead: A parting gift to our readers

Leap Ahead: A parting gift to our readers
Paul Hillsdon


Would you pay $0.35 a day if you got:

  • UBC SkyTrain
  • Two Light Rail lines in Surrey
  • 7 new B-Lines
  • Burnaby Mountain Gondola
  • Doubled capacity on the Expo Line

That’s the gist of Leap Ahead, a transit funding proposal that was released today. Based on over a year’s worth of research by myself and Nathan Pachal, the proposal pitches a 0.5% regional sales tax to cover the region’s share of the $6.5 billion cost of the infrastructure package. If approved, Leap Ahead would unlock $15 billion in economic returns and support 230,000 jobs, 4 times the number of jobs from the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.

Leap Ahead is a vision of a possible future. We all know what we need to build, the question was always ‘how’. Our research determined that a regional sales tax was the fairest, most affordable, and most realistic option for this region to move forward.

You can read the whole report, with a ton more stats and a plethora of maps, at

Consider Leap Ahead a parting gift to my readers and to fellow transit advocates across the region. I have been hired as a planner for the Province of Saskatchewan and will be shutting down Metro604 with this post. I will keep the site online as there is a valuable archive of over 500 posts spanning 5 years but there will not be any new articles forthcoming.

As I leave my home in Metro Vancouver, one year before a pivotal referendum on transit, it is my hope that Leap Ahead provides advocates with a viable pitch to win this battle. The referendum will determine the livability of this region for a generation. It is up to those of you who I leave behind to use the best parts of Leap Ahead, form coalitions with broader interest groups, and broker a deal that is winnable. Good luck.


  1. I don’t trust Translink, if this increase in sales tax of 0.5% goes ahead next it will be 1%, then 1.5%. The increases will never stop, best not to start this sales tax grab at all. Need to streamline Translink, too many unproductive employees including the $100,000 plus ticket checkers (Translink police) too many overpaid supervisors, directors etc. Look at what New York is paying their people to run an efficient transit system, its just mind boggling at the waste that is happening here..

    • Frank

      You obviously didn’t read the plan. They addressed this concern in the FAQ.
      You could eliminate the entire Translink bureaucracy and there wouldn’t be enough to move forward.

  2. I’d happily pay it. No question.

  3. I’m sad to see this site go. But I guess all good things must come to an end.
    I wish you luck Paul in your new adventure. I’ll keep an eye on things here in surrey if you ever want to ask whats been going on feel free to drop a line.

    Hope you get to see guildford mall at least before you go. I’m guessing you wont see the civic plaza of surrey get finished though.

  4. Rico

    Sorry to see you go, especially since Greater Vancouver will need all the pro transit voices it can over the next year.

  5. Tim

    Enjoy your new job, I will keep up the cycling efforts in Surrey. It looks like a conversion of King George is in the works to include a 2 way separated bike lane.

  6. Doreen

    Paul, you and Nathan’s contribution here has been invaluable.
    You’ve shown how little it would cost to kickstart a transit renaissance in Metro. Enjoy your new job!