Transportation

Councillors' Transit Meeting an Encouraging Sign

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.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By nobrainer (registered) | Posted March 30, 2007 at 13:51:33

No surprise Andrew Dreadful is dumping on this, probably just jealous there was a "backroom meeting" he didn't get invited to. He did the same smear job over Lister block saying anyone who wanted to save it was 'naive' and 'idealistic' or had an ax to grind. If it isn't the cha-ching of bulldozers and prefab houses on wide lanes, it MUST be those shameless greens and lefties trying to stop progress.

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By jason (registered) | Posted March 30, 2007 at 14:25:57

is it just me or does it seem like every column Dreschel writes these days is leading up to the next election?? give it a rest bud. you've got 3 and a half years. I'm sure the money bags and pre-recorded telephone jingle-folks will be back in full force trying to regain their Hamilton empire. Save the rhetoric until then when it actually matters.

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By JH (anonymous) | Posted March 30, 2007 at 16:29:39

Good to hear that municipal politics can be characterized by an actual commitment to look for complex problems deserving of complex solutions. Thank you McHattie, Bratina, and Merulla.

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By bob (registered) | Posted March 30, 2007 at 22:00:07

Come on...you speak as if these men have any integrity. One day one is rabid and foaming at the mouth because the others try to be fiscally responsible. Some crap goes on and the others will rethink their position. Typical Hamilton politics...choose the path of least resistance and forget about making thought out sound decisions.

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