Comment 35584

By Barney Google (anonymous) | Posted November 19, 2009 at 15:03:42

It's a matter of perception, and perception is reality. What part of municipal taxes in the "old" and "new" city is defined as going towards road construction? Designate more of that account in the old suburbs toward transit in the new order and you can balance the transit account, get millions more for the HSR and, hey presto, not increase anybody's taxes.

Lets not play this tax account shell game and instead recognize that public transit is an important tool for the development of a growing urban community generally. The more efficiently people can move about the more they can access good jobs and shop for goods and services. The lower the costs of public transit, the more discretionary income citizens have to spend on other things. Cars and road systems have reached the limits of their efficiencies in the urban environment of Southern Ontario.

Despite recognizing the importance of rationalizing public transit systems, Toronto has not been able to fully integrate the TTC with GO and transit systems in neighbouring municipalities. Metrolink is still a dream butting against political parochialism. This is political opportunity for Hamilton. As much as expanding service to the old suburbs, the HSR needs to fully integrate transit with Burlington, and develop GO inter-city transit hubs at logical points along our existing expressway systems. Yes the HSR should expand services to Flamborough, Ancaster, Glanbrook and Stoney Creek, but as part of better rail and road links to Guelph, KW, Brantford and Niagara.

Doing so would be a major step toward Hamilton and Burlington realizing our advantage as the geographical (and hence transportation) centre of the Golden Horseshoe and usurping Toronto as the economic centre of urban Southern Ontario. Currently we usually see our future only in terms of the "new" city of Hamilton, seldom in terms of our place in the South Ont metropolis and never in terms of the bay area growing its status relative to other parts of Metro. A shift to the latter is what I'd consider thinking in colour.

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