It's a large city and regional mobility hub whose leading industry suffered greatly during the recent economic downturn. The upcoming arrival of a major international sporting event has prompted reinvestment in transportation infrastructure, although plans to spend over a thousand dollars per resident on airport-related development have been quite controversial.
Yes, I'm talking about London, England.
Whereas government-sponsored studies predicted that the construction of a sixth terminal and third runway at Heathrow Airport would lead to a net economic benefit of £5.5 billion, re-analysis (taking full account of social and economic impacts) suggested a £5 billion net loss, while the high price of oil could raise the loss to £7.5 billion.
In light of such predictions and the objections raised by local residents and environmental groups, the new Conservative-led government scrapped the airport expansion.
However, the £16 billion Crossrail project to construct a mainline east-west railway underneath central London continues, and all three major political parties support spending tens of billions of pounds to construct a high-speed rail line joining London and Birmingham, which would cut travel times on this 190 km journey from 84 to 49 minutes.
Oh, and no serious person has argued that more highways and automobiles are the answer to London's transportation problems.
But clearly there is nothing for Hamilton to learn from London. Our only option for economic growth is the aerotropolis, and our only option for transportation is more cars and trucks. We will never have enough money to build proper public transit.
These are simple facts over which we have no control. In particular, the decisions to spend $250 million on the Red Hill Valley Parkway and $1 billion on the Airport Economic Growth District have absolutely nothing to do with the perceived difficulty in funding the construction of light rail transit.
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