Comment 104910

By MarieRobbins-Ward9StoneyCreek (registered) - website | Posted September 27, 2014 at 13:34:05

Thank you all for your comments. I am grateful for the quality of discussion that is occurring on RTH and am happy to address some of the points that have been raised so far.

To the multifaceted thread started by RobF:

I believe that as an aspiring municipal representative, my role lies in and making decisions for the benefit of my constituents, based on expert opinion, and in ensuring that council’s decisions are effectively implemented. Perhaps this seems like humble goal, but then again, I think that it is important to get back to the core of what it means to be a good representative.

In the context of the rapid transit, there will never be one moment where the conversation is resolved with finality. Instead, there will be a long series of many meticulous but interrelated decisions about the details forming the building-blocks of a transit system; decisions about transit routes, frequency, funding, hours of operation, fares, maintenance, urban massing potential, interregional connectivity and the like. The outcome of these many decisions will itself be hugely affected by a great many more ever-shifting external factors like budgets, the economy at large, shifts in public opinion on council, changes in provincial and federal policies, the availability of new technologies and so on. I think that for someone that has been an outsider to the process up to this point and has not had access to the wealth of expertise and advisors available to those at City Hall, it would not be responsible to purport having the answer for what will ultimately be the sum of these many smaller decisions.

With that said, one thing is outstandingly clear to me and that is that the opportunity-cost of not building transit now is far too high to ignore. Considering that there has been a 30 year gap between our last opportunity to build transit and today, at a low-ball estimate, fumbling this opportunity could easily cost in the vicinity of $30 million per year for 30 years in terms of forgone provincial funding. If we buy-in to the assumption that there are be many economic spin-offs to be had from building transit, and I think that we should, then our opportunity-cost could well end up in the ballpark of $50-$100 million lost every year for a generation. Yikes! In this light, the discussions over whether LRT or BRT will end up having operating costs of 2% or 3% higher or lower seem deeply superficial.

Finally, I would like to reaffirm that this has been my position on LRT since I registered as a candidate in March. Although perhaps my interview on Polish Radio (which is broadcast out of Mohawk College by the way) might not have matched everyone’s enthusiasm for LRT, I don’t think that my statements, now or then, leave so much room for interpretation that I could seem to be arguing against LRT… If it has resulted in any doubts, allow me to put it on record once again here: I want Hamilton to get to accepting the provincial funding and start using it to build LRT, ASAP

Marie Robbins Candidate for Ward 9 - Stoney Creek

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