By Ryan McGreal
Published November 22, 2007
If you didn't catch it on Tuesday, the Hamilton Spectator carried an excellent op-ed by Don McLean in which he argues that the city should "start using public transit to improve our local economy, reduce air pollution, fight global climate change and help Hamiltonians cope with rapidly rising fuel prices."
Detailing nearly two decades of funding cuts, fare hikes and all around lack of love for the beleagured HSR, McLean makes a strong case for transit as a public good that can catalyze downtown economic revitalization, improve prospects for low income residents and improve our environment.
He notes that Council is reluctant to allocate more tax revenue for transit, prefering to raise fares and use the gas tax transfers to offset operating costs instead of improving service.
Between competing priorities and the political minefield of area rating, in which different parts of the city pay different rates toward transit, City Council has long been stuck in a mindset where transit is a "budgetary pressure" to be minimized rather than an investment in making the city more vibrant and livable.
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