Flatulent Spending

By RTH Staff
Published March 31, 2005

According to CHML, Hamilton is slated to receive $15.1 million in new provincial funds in gas tax money. Instead of investing the money in building sustaintable transportation, the city is already talking about using it to pay for a funding shortfall and hold taxpayer rate increases to 4 percent.

We at RTH feared that once the gas tax money started flowing, the city would figure out a way to spend it on anything but transit.

Since, according to former city manager Bob Robertson, "The capital budget must be addressed particularly as Red Hill will drive more borrowing and it needs to be accommodated", the gas tax rebate is effectively subsidizing the escalating cost of yet more car-based transportation - exactly the opposite of its intended purpose.

This short-sighted mentality is typical of the city, which has also recently decided to gut the Future Fund - hereinafter christened as the Here and Now Fund - to pay for its solid waste management master plan and the expressway project.

The Fund was established by mortgaging the previously debt-free Hamilton Hydro for $137 million (Hydro customers are on the hook to pay the debt back, plus interest). After City Council raids it like a cookie jar, there will be nothing left of the Fund in seven years.


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