Lack of interest from City Hall, short-sighted provincial politicking conspire to sideline Hamilton's LRT plan.
By Nicholas Kevlahan
Published March 18, 2014
I was taking the B-line bus one day last week and had the melancholic experience of seeing one of the Rapid Transit team posters with the cheery notice:
"LRT public consultation coming January 2011!"
That is over three years ago!
Nothing screams broken dreams, unprofessionalism and lack of interest from the City like still running posters advertising an event three years ago and encouraging residents to submit their ideas and comments to a team that no longer exists - on the very B-line that is supposed to be upgraded to the LRT they are advertising.
It is like a bankrupt business that can't be bothered to take down their signs or remove their website.
Meanwhile, the Ontario NDP not only rejects all of the Province's proposed revenue tools to pay for the next phase of Metrolinx projects but doesn't even support an increase in corporate taxes or higher tax rates on people earning over $500,000.
Instead, the NDP would just "maintain" the current tax levels and "close loopholes".
They are basically saying the same thing as the Progressive Conservatives: no new taxes of any kind, and the money must come from efficiencies. The NDP are still pretending to support the Big Move, just as long as it doesn't cost anything.
I really can't see them raising the money needed by closing tax loopholes for the wealthy! And the suggestion of dedicating some corporate taxes to transit seems completely crazy: the NDP hasn't costed it, and we don't know if they would support the service cuts in other areas (i.e. health and education) that would be needed to cover the rest.
Also, they seem to think "middle class" means everyone earning less than $500,000!
What would it take for them to support a new revenue tool to fund the Big Move?
In response, the Ontario Liberals have also rejected a new gas tax or an increase to the HST - and the funding will only be regional, which is not what Premier Kathleen Wynne said a month ago.
That doesn't leave very much, since it is likely that congestion tolls are also off the table. I guess the only things left will be taxes or fees that individuals don't see.
Will this be enough for the NDP to support when the Spring Budget comes out? Will the money raised under whatever compromise they can make actually be enough to build anything?
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