Transportation

Time to Stop 'Subsidizing' Roads?

By Jason Leach
Published December 13, 2007

In today's Spectator, a letter writer complains about paying for HSR service on their property tax bill, yet having no say in how much that transit levy rises each year. The suggestion is that non-users are paying too much to subsidize transit riders.

In Hamilton, more than half of the cost of the HSR is paid for by transit riders at the farebox. The rest is covered by the overall tax levy.

By contrast, many people in Hamilton don't own a car, yet also pay high taxes every year for road construction and maintenance. Talk about costs increasing more than inflation - the road budget has grown much faster than the transit budget over the past decade.

In Hamilton, zero percent of the cost of roads is paid for by the users. 100% of the cost is covered by the general tax levy - i.e. by property tax.

If this letter writer is suggesting that it's time to change this system, I know many people without a car who would jump for joy at that idea. The way I see it, we have two options to bring fairness to this problem:

  1. Begin to have more than half of road/highway costs covered by the users. There is no farebox, of course. Tolls would be the most common way of recouping this money. Or:

  2. Make transit equal with roads by having 100 percent of the cost of the HSR covered by the overall tax levy.

I've never understood why one mode of transportation is so heavily subsidized over the other. People are all going to work, school and trying to enjoy life in our community, yet we punish those who choose to do so without their own car.

I think I like where this letter writer is coming from. Let's start the discussion.

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

35 Comments

View Comments: Nested | Flat

Read Comments

[ - ]

By Frank (registered) | Posted December 13, 2007 at 10:26:31

Jay, here's a hint. Transit is only now somewhat viable. Previously it was a small spider network of unavailable, inconsistent and unreliable buses and stops. As transit becomes a more common use of transportation it should be subsidized by overall taxes but I don't think either should be 100% funded by the general population. User pay for roads is impractical especially on city roads. Perhaps on the majors coming into town but with the amount of traffic using the roads, tolling them, unless it's done in a manner like the 407, would be incredible backwards. Proper representation should be used.

Also remember that despite you not using the road personally, all the goods that you purchase while you ride the bus as well as the bus itself use the roadway to get to their destination and as such even though you use the transit system, you are also using the road network.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Frank (registered) | Posted December 13, 2007 at 10:28:43

And last time I checked, the areas where pavement are the worse are usually in front of a bus stops where the pavement structure buckles. This makes it necessary for the city to come out and fix the road repeatedly. So... even though you're using transit, you're making road repairs necessary.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 13, 2007 at 10:49:58

"all the goods that you purchase while you ride the bus"

Hmmm. If goods transporters had to pay to use the highways, perhaps the false economy of globalized production would start to reverse.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By joejoe (anonymous) | Posted December 13, 2007 at 10:54:50

?? Seriously Frank ???!

By that logic my taxes should be paying for freight train costs too! (aren't goods also transported by train?).

Since when was I responsible for paying the cost of Sobey's distribution network? I'm paying for their roads so, what, should I pay for their gas too? And their warehouses?
That argument is nonsense.
Transporting goods is a cost that should be borne by the business not the tax payer. Just like any other distribution and business cost. I'll pay for it in the price of the goods. If the transport system were set up with real costs in mind, carbon taxes (more fuel taxes perhaps? or road tolls?) would be applied in line with the costs of using these networks. Then perhaps we'd have more goods shifted by rail.

Your argument is completely off-the-radar.

Transit should be paid through general levies because we need to start encouraging it's use to save the planet and to reduce road deaths. Any other logic is out of whack. It's really very simple - if we want to encourage a behaviour we reward it. If we want to discourage it - we penalize it.
It seems to me, that if you don't support transit investment or road tolling you don't agree with that central premise and that's your right. Just don't try and dress it up any differently that's all.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted December 13, 2007 at 11:00:39

yes, buses do use the road, but one bus takes the place of about 35-100 cars. So, if we want to get technical, I guess I could live with paying 1/30th - 1/100th of the cost of road maintenance.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted December 13, 2007 at 11:20:19

Call it a carbon tax or a gas tax, but there is no other more fair system out there for paying for what you use and the consequences of that. I think it is more precise than tolls, as all the side effects (AQ, road surface damage, space occupied) correlate better with fuel burned than anything else. The hypocrisy of free marketers in opposing these taxes is asstounding.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By liveD (anonymous) | Posted December 13, 2007 at 13:03:56

My taxes pay for the roads but they don't buy my car or put gas in it or pay the mechanic when I need maintenance. To suggest that tranist users should be getting a 100% subsidy is to also open the door for the city to buy my vehicle and pay its ongoing costs.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By highwater (registered) | Posted December 13, 2007 at 13:14:44

Arguing that the city should pay for your car because they subsidize transit is like arguing the city should pay for your Big Macs because they subsidize foodbanks and school breakfasts.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 13, 2007 at 13:27:39

liveD, just cause you are a car owner does not mean that you would not be able to use the 100% subsidized transit. The subsidy woul dbe open and free for all to use. The fact that you choose to buy and use a car is your own choice and is independent of the transit subsidy discussion.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By joejoe (anonymous) | Posted December 13, 2007 at 13:32:35

I think some of us are trying to make this issue more difficult than it is. The basic questions are:

a. - do we want to encourage more transit use? and
b. - do we want to discourage road use?

For me, the answer to a. is yes because I can see the environmental benefits and the benefits to the low income earners among us (who won't have to buy a car). The answer to b. is yes because cars are bad for the environment and they tend to kill a lot of us.

So then, all I have to ask is how do I do this? Free transit, better transit, more road charges... a suitable set of incentives and penalties are all we need.

If you disagree with transit incentives and road penalties then you did not answer 'yes' to a. and b. Simple as that.

It's not about what's fair, it's about what behaviours we want to encourage and discourage. If you don't want to encourage transit use and discourage car use then the sustainable development arguments have not worked for you. That's fine. Keep reading, keep discussing, maybe you will change your mind. But let's not make this any more complicated than it is.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted December 13, 2007 at 13:35:02

I think there's a reason it's called PUBLIC transit. Vehicle OWNERSHIP is private. All the citizens purchase and 'own' the transit vehicles. Do you really want 505,000 people laying claim to 'owning' your car?? What about your house, food, clothing, electronics?? Nowhere in this discussion was it suggested that city hall start making all of our private purchases. Believe me, the public has paid enough already to assist people in having their own vehicles.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By liveD (anonymous) | Posted December 13, 2007 at 14:18:49

All citizens also own hockey rinks but parents pay to have children skate there; or swimming pools. All I'm saying is there is always an element of user pay in everything we do. We pay for roads thru taxes to use them. we should pay for some of tranist for same reason. Its only fair.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 13, 2007 at 14:31:27

"We pay for roads thru taxes to use them."

The people who drive on roads pay nowhere near the real cost of doing so. It's subsidized from general federal and provincial taxes and mainly funded by municipal property taxes.

Here's my baseline criteria for whether the state ought to subsidize an activity: Does it contribute to the public good?

Driving emphatically does not. It kills nearly 4,000 people a year in collisions and crashes (plus tens of thousands of injuries), kills more than 4,000 people a year due to air pollution (plus tens of thousands of hospital visits), contributes massively to climate change, and is encouraging the destruction of valuable farmland and the desolation of sustainable neighbourhoods.

More money spent on transit means cleaner air, fewer deaths, lower GHG emissions, healthier neighbourhoods, safer streets, and compact transit oriented development.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Frank (registered) | Posted December 13, 2007 at 15:37:21

Only have a bit of time...I'll make 2 quick comments. Don't think I'm a proponent of the overuse of vehicles. I do like my car and if transit did anything that worked to get me to the business park I work in, I'd probably take it but...they don't. Jason, buses also cause as much damge to the road as 35-100 cars. And I forget who said we should pay for trains...we do. Check the prices of your food as gas goes up. Rail costs are lower because manufacturers pay to have their goods shipped by train (quicker) and because passenger trains use the rail lines and subsidize the cost of rail line maintenance. Quickly Ryan, there are people who are driving right now who I wouldn't want anywhere near me on a bus... They can keep their car. As far as getting peopel out of cars, it won't happen until the alternative is much more widely viable.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Frank (registered) | Posted December 13, 2007 at 15:40:01

I'm also not against using SOME tax money towards subsidizing transit nor am I proposing that those who only use the transit should pay 100% towards roads. What I do think is that there could be a way to generate a formula or method of taxation that is based on the transportation users main mode of transportation. It'd be difficult, but definately possible. If I had to pay into public transport it'd be fine with me PROVIDED there's an improvement in my area.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By g. (anonymous) | Posted December 13, 2007 at 19:49:42

wow, frank, i just don't know where to begin! you suggest that "buses also cause as much damge to the road as 35-100 cars." well, which is it? that is a wide range. or do you suggest that a bus with twice as many people on it causes twice as much damage to a road?
the principle mechanism for road failure is the weight of a vehicle comprimising the asphalt layer through distortion of the gravel road base. thus, the heavier a vehicle, the more damage it does to a road. the relationship is, of course, not entirely linear because there are upper and lower limits, ie, something that weighs to little will never damage a road, and something that weighs too much will cause immediate failure. however, bith cars and busses and heavy trucks fall within these limits.

so, getting back to your assertion, for argument sake we will assume that the average passenger vehicle weighs around 3,000 pounds, give or take. plus possible passengers and payload capacity of 500 pounds. 3500 pounds. in order for a bus to do the same amount of damage to a road you suggest that it weighs between 125,500 and 350,000 pounds?!? that is with passengers of course. in reality a bus weighs between 25,000 and 30,000 pounds average with a maximum grvw of around 40,000lbs. in other words the most a bus can weigh fully loaded is around 13 times more than the average car and not the 35-100 times you pin your arguement on. there in lies the beauty and efficiency of public transit. buses carry 5 fold more weight of passenger than a private automobile per pound of machine by design. even if people all used their cars to their peak of efficiency which they don't and very few can, it still wouldn't be close to the savings a bus offers.

as to your comments about subsidies for trains, what world do you live in? the major problem with trains is that they are slower than trucks not faster. and i don't have any numbers but the idea of passenger trains using tracks and subsidizing rail maintainance is just plain wrong. the amount of passenger rail by revenue in this country is a drop in the bucket compared with freight. it is true that Via uses CN and CP lines and pays a fee but by that arguement bus riders also subsidize road construction because they pay fares, part of which is used to buy deisel which is taxed, part of which is used to build and maintain roads. we could make lengthy relationships between a ham sandwich and afghan opium production as well but really, what would be the point?.

replying to these inane posts makes me want to see how much more damage a bus causes by testing it with my head!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ted Mitchell (registered) | Posted December 13, 2007 at 21:20:44

road damage is a non-linear relationship that is complicated by lots of other factors e.g. the compliant suspension of a city bus is going to be less damaging than say a dump truck of similar weight. recall that one full bus equals a two-minute continuous stream of single occ cars. if you were a pothole you'd prefer one bus instead of sixty cars.

Back to the issue, it's important to agree that non transit users subsidize transit. But the dollars involved are small compared to the degree that non-car users subsidize cars. I'd prefer to area rate roads because it would more than reverse the transit area rating skew. Then again the lower city subsidizes the mountain's water bills hugely and it gets embarassingly petty if you keep at this game...

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Balance (anonymous) | Posted December 13, 2007 at 21:21:11

I'm sure I'll get beat up for this but this is the way I see it.

I own a car and pay for the car, gas, insurance and maintenance out of my own pocket.

Bus riders through fares pay for the bus, fuel, insurance, maintenance and the driver through fares.

We all pay through income and property taxes for the road networks that these vehicles travel on.

It seems fair to me. I've chosen to pay more to use a personal vehicle. Transit riders pay less through choice or circumstance to use transit.

Personally, I'd love to have convenient public transit that fits my lifestyle but it is not available.

Just another point of view.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By beancounter (registered) | Posted December 13, 2007 at 23:00:39

“User pay for roads is impractical especially on city roads” Frank wrote in the first comment on this article.

There is actually a way of capturing the information on road usage by individual vehicles.

One such system was developed by Toronto-based Skymeter Corp., using GPS and on-board meters which communicate with the satellite. (Toronto Star, August 13, 2007). The system collects data as to where and when an individual vehicle travels. This enables the use of different rates for various types of roads and higher charges during peak traffic periods.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Larry Di Ianni (anonymous) | Posted December 13, 2007 at 23:31:06

What we need is a new paradigm for funding public transit and road infrastructure. The debate, although interesting, won't advance the situation much.
A new paradigm, a very hopeful one is actually being presented by Metrolinx. If you are interested you can look at their website. I also write about it in this week's web article:

See www.chrisecklund.com and follow my link.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 14, 2007 at 08:14:37

Metrolinx has a lot of promise and I'm pretty excited to see how it works, but in the context of Hamilton the Metrolinx model has one devastating flaw: it takes its cues from municipalities.

Since Hamilton's Department of Public Works has such an unambitious vision for transit, that means Metrolinx will give us buses. Buses with low floors, upgrades stations and maybe signal priority, but buses nonetheless.

This is the time for Hamilton to push hard for a transit system for a real city: a light rail line running across downtown that will carry more people more smoothly and comfortably, reduce air pollution, and most important, attract billions of dollars in new investment to revitalize and intensify our sadly underperforming Main Street.

We could get a light rail line from Mac to Eastgate for around $200 million (MoveOntario 2020 has allocated $300 million for two new rapid transit lines in Hamilton). The operating costs per passenger would be significantly lower than equivalent bus service, while the system would carry more people, attract more new riders, and spur new investment in a way with which that buses simply cannot compare.

Unfortunately, Public Works is committed to buses, bus rapid transit (think an upgraded B-Line), and maybe, eventually, far down the road, some kind of light rail?

Why wait? Why not build the real system right away - especially if the province is committed to paying for its construction and its per passenger operating cost will actually be lower?

Sadly, that's not the Hamilton way. Our hearts aren't really behind serious transit improvement, so we ask for modest improvements while more ambitious cities like Toronto plan to build billions of dollars in new light rail to connect that city.

Since Metrolinx takes its cues from the cities themselves, Hamilton will get the transit it asks for - which is another way of saying Hamilton will get the transit it deserves.

As citizens, we have an uphill struggle to convince our government that light rail is the superior choice:

http://hamiltonlightrail.com

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Larry Di Ianni (anonymous) | Posted December 14, 2007 at 08:43:19

Oh my God forgive me. I think I agree with Ryan!!
I'll do my best to find lots of stuff I disagree with, I promise.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 14, 2007 at 09:09:00

I like it when we find stuff to agree with. I don't like fighting for its own sake, and I think we all want the same broad goals - a robust, vibrant, livable city with a strong economy and lots of good paying jobs.

So: what can we do to convince the city it should aim higher?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted December 14, 2007 at 11:00:29

send them all on an all-expenses paid trip to Portland for a week, or month. Or a few years. Get them out of here and into some real cities that work and are aiming high. Sitting around at city hall throwing pens and debating about colours of plastic bags isn't getting us anywhere. I'd happily shut down city hall for a couple years and have them all move to Portland or Boston or some city that is forward thinking and setting itself up for success in the future. Not recession.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 14, 2007 at 13:43:27

A quick reply to Balance's comment: Your argument is simplifying the situation too much. For instance, consider that you and your neighbour both pay similar municipal levies for transit and road building. You have a car, and your neighbour does not. You are likely going to drive many many more kilometres per year on the roads you both pay equally for than he rides on a city bus. This is just one simple example of why it's not as straightforward as your comments suggest.

Beyond that, there are all sorts of hidden subsidies which we all pay, and which allow you to make the choice to spend a little more for the privilege of having a private automobile. Without these subsidies, you probably couldn't afford to drive. In fact, the cost to all of us of your car are probably greater than the costs you pay yourself. This is through non-drivers subsidizing your free parking at all businesses that we both shop at (land is expensive!), through the treatment of injuries caused by cars, through the treatment of the long term health effects of putting one or two people per vehicle instead of one or two dozen, Through the building of kilometre after kilometre of roads that no public transit vehicle will EVER use (all of the cul de sacs in every subdivision in every city), through tax breaks, bailouts and other government money given to automobile manufacturers, etc etc.

It is widely known that hidden public subsidies are the reason that car ownership is affordable for many. This is why it is ludicrous to cry foul when it comes to publicly subsidizing PUBLIC transit.

Unfortunately it's way too easy for us all to dismiss these public costs because they are completely hidden from any individual's bottom line.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 14, 2007 at 13:45:42

Larry and Ryan: I'm so happy to see LRT come up here because if we pass up this opportunity to spend the province's money wisely, we will likely never be able to build the transit system we need.

Right now, we have a choice:

Spend THEIR MONEY on buses and be faced with huge operational cost increases for the life of these buses - expenses that come out of OUR MONEY

OR

Spend THEIR MONEY on light rail and save OUR MONEY for the life of the system through drastically reduced operating expenses (likely less than half of what buses cost over their lifetime), plus making more of OUR MONEY - from taxes, billions of private investment dolalrs, ridership increases, city image enhancement and emigration that results from it - over the life of the system (other cities have seen anywhere from 900% to four THOUSAND percent return on investment from LRT -- and they invested their own money. We could see this falling into our laps without having to risk any of our own cash!)

We would be stupid not to beg for LRT from the moveontario budget!

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Larry Di Ianni (anonymous) | Posted December 15, 2007 at 01:36:29

Just catching up on the threads. Ryan, you ask a good question regarding influencing decision makers. Let me give that some thought and I will respond.
In the meantime, don't judge prematurely the importance of Metrolinx. If you read my blog, they will seek consultation widerly before writing their green/white papers. I wrote my piece before the Province announced $100M for this enterprise. That's a nice chunk of change which signals strong support. Hamilton has received some money for buses and I see Sean's concern, but buses too are needed to expand, improve our transit system. Should we be visionary? Yes. Should we be bold. Yes. But we need to have our feet planted firmly on the ground.
I'll try to suggest some things that may be done in the next day or so.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By kevin (registered) | Posted December 15, 2007 at 08:24:37

We lived in Japan for a couple years in the 90s. In that country, you keep about 98% of your paycheck, but everything has users fees, especially driving (high taxes and fuel prices, road tolls...) The public transit systen in Nagoya, where we were, was very efficient and there were bike paths everywhere. Guess what?We didn't own a car and rode our bikes everywhere. We saved $, got fit, and really got to know our city, not just the major arteries from home to work.

In that scenario, as RTH advocates, you have much, much, much more disposable incomee, which spend locally - in your neighbourhood - and small businesses thrive.

This "leftie" will tell you, it IS business, it's just not big and gross and greedy and destructive and subsidised and auto-dependent and generic and souless and stooped....

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Frank (registered) | Posted December 17, 2007 at 08:50:56

Thanks for the instruction on road design g. I've only been trained to do it for about 5 years so I need all the help I can get. I don't need to answer your rather limited view on road design because someone else has already pointed out the problems. I will say that an average vehicle doesn't way 3000 pounds. Mine ways about 1200. As far as the range goes, that range was the range given by someone else so I used it so the person would know what I was referring to.

I love the thought of an improved public transit system I have one big problem with the way things are now. I have to travel 2 or 3 times weekly from near Eastgate to the west Mountain on Garth. This trip takes me about 15-20 minutes by car, by bus...somehting like an hour. I don't care how much it costs, I won't take a bus to do it. If I could get downtown in less time via lets say an LRT system, it'd be a better possibility.

I don't think we're actually attacking a situation that's solvable by any ONE solution. Society in general dictates that we have to get certain things done by a certain time and there's usually not enough time to get them all done anyway. That's North America for you...greed on the part of few makes it necessary for the rest of us to work like lemmings the rest of our lives. I'd much rather live in a city in South America or Europe where I can die a death of something other than pollution or stress. The attitude of society needs to change. There's a possibility that changing the things we're talking about is going to end up useless if our attitudes themselves aren't addressed...kinda like changing the facade of a building without actually modifying the base structure.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By liveD (anonymous) | Posted December 17, 2007 at 14:19:18

I can't believe these posts. They are either bemoaning something or someone or they are depressingly defeatist. I prefer even the pie in the sky daydreaming of some to visions of dying of stress or pollution!
I'm off to take a valium now.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Larry Di Ianni (anonymous) | Posted December 17, 2007 at 21:21:04

Ryan, just some thoughts on convincing folks to 'aim higher' and linking it to LRT.

It has to start with leadership. Someone or hopefully a group of people with a vision and the determination to drive it. I actually applauded Council for taking up the visioning challenge. They have stopped short however. The proof of the pudding is in the specific plans to achieve the vision and the budget allocated to it as well. There is an old saying which asks, "Don't tell me what you believe in, show me your budget and I'll tell you what you believe in."
So, the formulation of these goals is something to keep our eyes on.
The Mayor is very important in this task and can acutally set the agenda for Council and the city by using the position as a 'bully pulpit' sometimes and to effect decisions at other times.
History, such as it is will speak to my record and this isn't about explaining/apologizing or boasting. But I had a clear mandate when I won the position and tabled 10 goals to achieve the mandate. I didn't table them until I spoke with Council and senior staff, however. Council modified some and Sr. staff bought into the goals. So, when it came time for support at Council end and at staff end, I knew I had support as long as I didn't stray from what we had worked out. If we needed to stray, we did so collectively. I know this is contrary to the hard-pushing stereotype that was written about.
Now, I also admit that I didn't have consensus or unanimity on all the goals..and the supporters sometimes changed, but I was after majority not unanimity; although unanimity would have been nice, it just didn't seem possible. That is part of the record, for better or worse.
My point is that vision is important; and someone to drive that vision is crucial.
So, let's take the example of LRT. It wasn't on either Fred's or my platform, although I toyed with it; it just hadn't received enough context for me to include it and I wanted to be believed. But let's take that as an example. First, there has to be community buy in. That should start with (and I hate to say this) a study, professionally done. Staff should be encouraged and empowered to accept the LRT vision. The study should cover all the basics: concept, cost, partnerships, benefits, challenges, phasing.
The community should be brought in by highlighting the study and its positive results. Advocates such as yourselves at RTH should come on board at various stages (early, mid, late), the business community; BIA's, HCCI, Civic Coalition...anyone with a voice in Hamilton should be invited to participate and champion. The Media should receive information via the traditional routes: Editorial board, press release, articles, etc. etc.
Council should adopt some of the concepts and timelines and cost allocations for the study as well.

I would almost suggest a Community Liason LRT Committee similar to the Waste Master Plan Group. This group succeeded through lots of work and advocacy to have Council commit over $100M to the Waste Plan, without any objections. Theirs was a smart, incremental approach, however.
Just a caution: don't put people on this group who advocate to stop funding roads. This will never happen. My point is that you have to drive your vision, but one has to also recognize that other things will need to get done. It will, however, be a question of priorities and this exercise is about establishing an exciting priority.
Anyway, I go on. Just some thoughts for now. Reactions?

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By seancb (registered) - website | Posted December 18, 2007 at 11:13:34

A quick note: A study will clearly be necessary, but I think that we are beyond the argument about "if" -- we don't have time to waste studying this (all existing LRT systems give us the answer).

We will need a study to determine "how", but let's not spend years asking "if" only to find that when the obvious answer is verified, the provincial money is gone.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted December 18, 2007 at 11:56:34

At this point, if the city announced they were going to study light rail, I would consider that a major advance over the status quo, in which LRT isn't even an option, let alone a preferred option.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By jason (registered) | Posted December 18, 2007 at 12:08:26

Larry...I like the model you've proposed. I hope city hall will do that before it's too late and we've spent all of our money on more buses. Yes, we need more buses. Yes we'll always need to spend on roads. that's not really the debate here. The debate is that we are being offered a huge hunk of 1-time money. Let's use it wisely and think long-term. EcDev, quality of life, downtown redevelopment, air quality, ridership increase etc.... I know buses are easier and we're used to them, but I think you're on the money with the idea similar to the Waste task force. We need to get something like that in place before it's too late.

Permalink | Context

[ - ]

By Larry Di Ianni (anonymous) | Posted December 18, 2007 at 12:42:45

I agree with your points that studies often mask inaction. I don't advocate that, as you know. However, some basic questions of where, how, when and how much need to provide the context for the benefits of Light Rail to the city. I was pleased to see the piece on Gilbert in the paper today. There is much good in his report that I hope is being acted upon. LRT can fit into this thinking. (I did note (again) his support for jobs in our city.)
If the right momentum is seized by our province and local leadership (and dare I say the Feds although they seem to have abandoned cities-says he with a partisan tone--but I think the time has come to answer some basic questions and begin queing up the process.
I think Metrolinx, by the way, can be a huge motivator here.

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