Surprising results of metro Vancouver transit referendum released today

Opponents' winning vote by a generous majority sends a strong message to BC Liberals.

The path is unclear now that the metro Vancouver vote for a sales tax hike was roundly defeated. Photo of Rupert Skytrain station by Wikimedia Commons

The ballots have been counted and the results are in. Voters have given a resounding 'no' to Metro Vancouver's Transportation and Transit Plebiscite, which proposed a 0.5 per cent tax increase to fund transportation improvements over the next 10 years. 

The results have been posted on the Elections BC website, revealing 61.68 per cent of voters oppose to the tax hike, and only 38.32 per cent support it.

If approved, the tax would have been used to pay for more buses, roads, a light rail line, transit exchanges, increased SkyTrain, West Coast Express and SeaBus service and new bike paths.

Residents used a mail-in ballot between mid-March and late May to support or reject a half-per-cent tax hike.

The tax would have been used to generate $7.5 billion over a decade to pay for more buses, roads, an extended rapid transit line and a new bridge.

This morning British Columbia's chief electoral officer Keith Archer announced the results of the plebiscite, which were a surprise to many who expected the well-funded Yes side to win.

Proponents argued that transit upgrades are needed to accommodate one million new residents expected to move to the Vancouver area over the next 30 years. But opponents say priority projects would get built through other means and that TransLink, the transit authority, should not be trusted with more money.

— with files from Canadian Press

Some early reaction, via social media:

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