I can't help but wonder whether the city's fiscal watchdogs and scolds will raise the alarm about spending over $20 million to widen a single street.
By Ryan McGreal
Published December 19, 2014
An article in today's Spectator reports that the Province has approved a plan to widen Waterdown Road between the Highway 403 exit and Dundas Street.
The road will be widened from two lanes to four over the six-kilometre stretch: three driving lanes and a centre turn lane. According to the article, the widening was estimated to cost $23.3 milion in 2010, of which the City of Hamilton is expected to cover 95 percent of the total.
Reading this, I can't help but wonder whether the fiscal watchdogs and scolds who complain bitterly about comparatively tiny expenditures for the Cannon Street Cycle Track and the city's bike share program will also raise the alarm about spending over $20 million to widen a single street.
I can't help but compare this project, which is being funded by taxpayers from across the city, with the area-rated Transcab service in Binbrook, which local residents recently voted to abolish even though it cost only $66,000 a year to run.
I can't help but think of Ward 8 Councillor Terry Whitehead, who went on radio last week to complain, "Urbanists believe we've all kinds of money to spend in one area of the city. I'm tired of these whiners, quite frankly!"
Whitehead could scarcely countenance spending $800,000 downtown. Can you imagine his reaction to a project to spend $23 million downtown?
And since it needs to be said: this isn't about whether or not the Waterdown Road widening is a good idea. The issue is that Hamilton City Council boils the ocean over tiny expenditures on sustainable active transportation while approving huge expenditures on automobile infrastructure without so much as a peep of scrutiny or skepticism.
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