'Unlucky'? No, We Just Lack Vision

By Jason Leach
Published June 23, 2010

Today's Spectator goes into more detail on yesterday's report that Hamilton is losing money next year in its provincial gas tax transfer.

Transit systems nationwide are bracing for the blow but Hamilton is unlucky to also be renewing its 15-year contract for the ads splashed across buses and in shelters next year.

[HSR Director Don] Hull says the province's gas tax allotment formula is also unlucky for Hamilton. The formula weighs population change at 30 per cent and ridership change at 70 per cent in order distribute the two cents a litre of gas tax revenue.

Hamilton is "unlucky"? No we aren't. We just suck at being a city.

When you can't even keep up with Brampton on transit ridership growth in one of the oldest, densest and most urban cities in the country, it's not because of bad luck.

It's bad leadership, no vision and accepting the status quo of mediocre transit service coupled with one-way freeways bombing people all over town.

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


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By Kiely (registered) | Posted June 23, 2010 at 11:23:39

…he's at the mercy of a parochial council that sees transit as a cost centre to be minimized rather than an investment in urban vitality - Ryan

When I worked at Bombardier they were doing a lot of studies on transportation (specifically rail) investment. The number often tossed around at Bombardier was a 10:1 return on investment. Yes you do have to consider the source (it is obviously biased) but other sources also support the findings.

U.S. rail transit services require about $12.5 billion annual public subsidy (total capital and operating expenses minus fares), about an extra $90 per Large Rail city resident. However, economic benefits more than repay these subsidies: rail transit services are estimated to provide $19.4 billion in annual congestion cost savings, $8.0 billion in roadway cost savings, $12.1 billion in parking cost savings, $22.6 billion in consumer cost savings, and $50 billion in traffic accident cost savings. Rail transit also tends to provide economic development benefits, increasing business activity and tax revenues. It can be a catalyst for community redevelopment. Additional, potentially large benefits include improved mobility for non-drivers, increased community livability and improved public health.

Excerpt from

Rail Transit In America - A Comprehensive Evaluation of Benefits, 16 December 2009

By Todd Litman, Victoria Transport Policy Institute

Comment edited by Kiely on 2010-06-23 10:26:24

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By Mike Lane (anonymous) | Posted June 23, 2010 at 12:04:19

On the plus side, people will be super impressed when we get LRT in five years!

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