The Mayors' Council on Regional Transportation has appointed businessman Jimmy Pattison, one of the richest people in the country, to head up a blue ribbon public accountability committee to oversee the funds that will be collected if there is a "yes" in the transportation and transit referendum.
"We have heard loud and clear from the people of Metro Vancouver on this question. They want assurances that the money collected from the PST increase will go to pay for the critical transportation and transit improvements needed in the region," said Mayors' Council chair and Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson. "By appointing Mr. Pattison to head up this oversight committee, we are providing voters with a concrete mechanism to monitor and ensure that the funds raised will be used for the infrastructure they are meant to pay for."
Pattison agreed to terms of reference for his new position, which include selecting experts to work with him on the oversight body.
"I know how important our transportation and transit system is, both to our needs now, and to the needs of our children and grandchildren," said Pattison. "We need this infrastructure, and the public has a right to transparency and accountability."
Jimmy Pattison is Chairman and CEO of the Jim Pattison Group. Founded in Vancouver more than 50 years ago and with more than 39,000 employees globally, the Jim Pattison Group is the second largest private company in Canada.
Later this month residents will begin receiving ballots asking if they would agree to a 0.5 per cent transit tax to fund the improvements. The tax would pay for a $7.5-billion, 10-year transit expansion plan that includes plans for two light rail lines for Surrey, a subway in Vancouver, a new four-lane Pattullo Bridge and hundreds more buses.
To pass, the vote needs to be 50 per cent plus one.