Transportation

Yet Again, Transportation Funding Priorities Favour Cars

By Jason Leach
Published April 07, 2010

Ahh, of course. With only limited funds to go around, why waste it on Metrolinx?

The federal and Ontario governments have pinpointed 43 highway, bridge and road projects for upgrades and repairs in a bid to lower commute times.

The joint $138.7-million investment announced today in Mississauga will go toward improvements for projects in Hamilton and around the province.

We all know that resurfacing highways will cut commute times waaaaaay down.

Jason Leach was born and raised in the Hammer and currently lives downtown with his wife and children. You can follow him on twitter.

23 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By Kiely (registered) | Posted April 07, 2010 at 16:39:37

Sad Jason, but this is the problem with infrastructure funds. Politicians want to blow their horns sooner not later. Developing transit takes too long for governments, It can literally be years before you take delivery of a single piece of equipment. They want to be able to promote that they spent X amount on infrastructure, which created X number of jobs and pumped X number of dollars into the local economy and they want to promote it before the next election. Unfortunately the easiest way to do that is to pave some roads and paint some bridges. Transit development simply takes too long for our "may fly" politicians. The fact that a large percentage of people who vote provincially, prefer to drive, is not lost on them either.

They don't want the opposition potentially cutting the ribbon on anything they deserve the credit for... It is short sighted, 3-4 year thinking.

Not justifying, just saying… I'm feeling a little cynical today.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted April 07, 2010 at 17:38:59

sadly you're right.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted April 07, 2010 at 18:02:02

You guys are depressing...

How about we brainstorm some alternative ideas for paying for LRT ourselves. The province can reimburse us if/when they get around to it.

What about a car wash? That sounds ironic enough to work!

What about starting up a registered charity that will donate the money to the development of LRT? Or more likely finding an existing charity which will do this. People are more likely to support something if they get a benefit (tax advantage).

What other ideas are out there?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted April 07, 2010 at 20:44:09

I'm not sure why people are downvoting you. I think you're probably right. Unless it has 4 wheels and 1 occupant, any other form of transportation is simply viewed as an expensive social service by our governments in Canada.

I'd be open to highway tolls, or the old idea of using gas tax money for transit but we always seem to find a way to take the gas tax money and use it on potholes or some other dumb thing.

maybe increase all city parking lots and meters by .50 an hour and put that money towards LRT? spaghetti dinners? cheese rolling competitions? sexiest councillor competition?...... actually, scrap that idea. Lloyd would win in a landslide anyhow.

all joking aside, I think you're onto something. we might be waiting forever if we're relying on government to help out with this. Only people like 'ASmith' get gobs of government money to subsidize their lifestyle . The rest of us probably need to get creative. Sorry, bad call by me. I know....

Comment edited by jason on 2010-04-07 19:45:11

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By grassroots are the way forward (registered) | Posted April 07, 2010 at 21:41:18

What about community bonds.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted April 07, 2010 at 22:01:06

Thanks for the support Jason.

Some people probably thought I was just trolling due to the lighthearted and joking nature of my post. However my sentiment is genuine. We can't rely on governments to have the long term interests of citizens in mind.

Parking lot tax, toll on the Red Hill Creek Expressway/Linc, community bonds, fundraising spaghetti dinners, all great ideas.

We have tons of local Hammertown musical talent. What about some "pay what you can" concerts on top of Jackson Square?

Or a celebrity roast featuring perennial local favourites such as Matt Hayes?

How about a city scavenger hunt like they do every year in Toronto? It would be a great way to show off and use the transit system that we're trying to improve while getting people to become more familiar with Hamilton's heritage. At the same time we'll get people exploring the city and discover that Hamilton has a lot of hidden gems.

Conclusion: There are things we can do to ensure we get LRT. Some of them require political will and some require money (yes, you have to spend it to make it). What they all require is people who have the time and dedication to make it happen.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By sprawlbesity (anonymous) | Posted April 07, 2010 at 23:37:36

“Solving the problem of traffic by building more roads is like loosening your belt to solve the problem of obesity.”

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Peter (anonymous) | Posted April 08, 2010 at 03:39:32

Mississauga...where else would such an announcement be made? :D

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted April 08, 2010 at 10:15:35

LOL @ sprawlbesity

That's going to be my quote of the month!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Kiely (registered) | Posted April 08, 2010 at 10:16:08

We can't rely on governments to have the long term interests of citizens in mind. - Robert D

100% correct.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By JM (registered) | Posted April 08, 2010 at 13:08:44

"sprawlbesity" = awesome. i'll be adding that to the dictionary!

laughing just as hard as when i first saw "sprawl-mart" on the Simpsons

JM

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By kevin (registered) | Posted April 08, 2010 at 17:44:35

sprawlbesity; your username and quote made my day. Way to go.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Kiely (registered) | Posted April 09, 2010 at 10:54:45

Conclusion: There are things we can do to ensure we get LRT. Some of them require political will and some require money (yes, you have to spend it to make it). What they all require is people who have the time and dedication to make it happen. - Robert D

This is an important point, there are things that can be done. My family is from St. Louis, a city that has similar and arguably bigger problems than Hamilton but the one thing they have had going for them is philanthropy and mass public involvement in ensuring the city is maintained in the face of dire fiscal challenges. St Louis has been maintained by the public for years, not solely, but without the involvement of the public the city would be in much worse shape. The renewal of Forest Park is a perfect example, nearly $50 million in private funds were collected (in a city with a core population of ~300K). There is a tremendous amount of local pride in St. Louis, something Hamilton could certainly use more of.

It is not a coincidence that the projects moving ahead in this city such as the Grand Hotel have local private funding behind them. But from what I have seen, too often in this city, the people in the best position to help (i.e., the wealthy and local corporations) are often the ones looking for the hand out or seek to stifle plans from moving ahead. That leaves the burden on the predominantly working class people of Hamilton to step up, but time and money are two things the working class often lack. Until the people with deep pockets seek to help and not hinder local development I'm afraid it will be more of the same-old same-old.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By synxer (registered) | Posted April 09, 2010 at 13:23:24

Kinda related link: "China’s High-Speed Plan for California" http://bigthink.com/ideas/19516

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Kiely (registered) | Posted April 09, 2010 at 16:34:11

Kinda related link: "China’s High-Speed Plan for California" http://bigthink.com/ideas/19516 - synxer

Argh, that comment about terrorism as an excuse not to build transit... that's a new one. Although the comments in the article from the two, I suppose they'd be considered "experts", weren't much better.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By bigguy1231 (registered) | Posted April 09, 2010 at 17:33:27

Kiely,

You better do a little research about philanthropy in this city. Over the last ten years hundreds of millions of dollars have been given to different projects in this city by a number of people who have made their fortunes here. Names like Juravinski, Braley, DeGroote, Joyce and the late Morgan Firestone have made huge contributions.

Those donations have turned Hamilton into an important medical and medical research hub. If not for their contributions we would be in even worse shape than we are in now.

We have never had a problem raising money for public projects in this city. Many of our public parks are on lands donated by individuals. Hamilton Place was built with money raised through public telethons and other community fund raising.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By alrathbone (registered) | Posted April 09, 2010 at 18:35:35

"We all know that resurfacing highways will cut commute times waaaaaay down."

Nevermind cutting wait times, I'm more concerned with bridge collapses like in Quebec.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted April 09, 2010 at 22:39:55

I'm glad the province made it clear that transit projects are being delayed because there simply is no money available:

http://www.thespec.com/News/BreakingNews...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By alrathbone (registered) | Posted April 10, 2010 at 13:50:17

"I'm glad the province made it clear that transit projects are being delayed because there simply is no money available"

You know if the government was actually better at budgeting they wouldn't be trying to set people against each other, when they've realized they've pissed away all the money and no longer have any to meet priority demands.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By More roads (anonymous) | Posted April 10, 2010 at 19:11:14

Claw back the amount of money that goes to free health care, free education and social services and perhaps you will get your LRT. In the fifties and sixties, the government built infrastructure and our economy was very strong. Starting in the seventies, we shifted spending to entitlement programs and the economy has gotten worse every decade.

In 2009, all levels of government in Canada spent $594.5B. Of that, it spent 10.1%, or $60.5B on fixed capital. In contrast, it spent $121.6B on free health care, $95.7 on free education and $151B on social services, or around 60% of all government spending. If 10% was taken from the freebie budgets and dedicated to local infrastructure, it would be an additional $36B, or $1090/person. Hamilton's share of that would be $549M each and every year.

Are people willing to take a reduction of 10% in freebies to get half a billion in new infrastructure each and every year?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Kiely (registered) | Posted April 11, 2010 at 11:57:50

You better do a little research about philanthropy in this city. - bigguy1231

I didn't say there is none, but this city is going to need more. If you disagree that's fine.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Kiely (registered) | Posted April 11, 2010 at 17:52:01

Are people willing to take a reduction of 10% in freebies to get half a billion in new infrastructure each and every year? - More roads

Interesting More roads. I believe this is a debate that needs to happen. When you can't afford the must haves like infrastructure, transit, etc... how much of the nice to haves can we afford?

What we pay for, how much, who is responsible (i.e., what level of government) and what is their share of the tax payer pie are questions that all need to be asked and answered for this century.

To answer your question I would say yes, but the big debate is where is that 10% cut coming from. For example, I believe public education should be free even at the college level, to me that is a must have and the benefits will out way the cost. So it becomes a very tough debate, the question of what is required and what is a "freebie" alone is one that will bring a lot of debate, add to that how much do you cut from what and it could get ugly... I do believe stronger leaders could help us with these tough questions and necessary decisions though.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted April 14, 2010 at 10:19:23

Another advantage of stronger leaders (morally-speaking in this case) would be a reduction in corruption, nepotism, and waste. How about giving the public complete and accurate information on which to base decisions, rather than playing politics and stirring up conflict for personal gain. Those gains in efficiency would yield probably considerable savings. Then, as things get done better and negative externalities decrease, the savings compound as health, productivity, quality of life, and education/intelligence improves. Won't fix every problem, but start with honesty and integrity and most if not all problems decrease in severity considerably because people work together more instead of everyone clawing at each other to 'get theirs'.

Comment edited by mikeonthemountain on 2010-04-14 09:20:38

Permalink | Context

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to comment.

Events Calendar

Recent Articles

Article Archives

Blog Archives

Site Tools

Feeds