By Ryan McGreal
Published March 30, 2007
After the acrimonious budget committee meeting that ended in a controversial vote to raise transit fares, Councillors Sam Merulla (Ward 4), Bob Bratina (Ward 2) and Brian Mchattie (Ward 1) are discussing ways to raise the funds the HSR needs without the fare increase.
According to McHattie, the matter is still under discussion while they attempt to find a proposal that a majority of Councillors will support.
Bratina notes that they are considering some possible strategies and are waiting for "a detailed formal report before making a recommendation".
Despite Hamilton Spectator columnist Andrew Dreschel's strained efforts in today's column to paint the meeting as "old-fashioned backroom politics", this is an encouraging sign.
It demonstrates a willingness to break out of the either/or binary thinking that too often characterizes Hamilton politics and led to Tuesday's vote to raise fares.
This is an excellent opportunity for City Council to show some imagination and real leadership on a vital issue.
Success at growing transit ridership without loading the costs on those least able to pay will help to steer Hamilton toward its goal of becoming a truly vibrant, healthy, sustainable city.
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