Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Public transit a key election issue

with 3 comments

Toronto Star

in Toronto suburbs wooed by Tories

It is a shame about that qualifier. And it is also a shame that the opinion seems to be exclusive to Michael Roschlau, president of the Canadian Urban Transit Association.  There is nothing in the article itself to back up the assertion in the headline. No poll, no vox pops. There is a useful sidebar that has the party platforms on transit.

But again we get the same tale about gas tax or, in the case of the Greens, a point on GST. Now I have made the point here more than once that these taxes are all regressive, and predicated taxes are a hostage to fortune. In the case of the gas tax, as gas sales fall (for example when people drive less due to high gas prices) so do revenues. Which is exactly the reverse of what needs to happen. Yes we need federal funding for transit, but it should be based on the consolidated revenues of the federal government not one tax or another. And it should be available to use for both operating and capital spending.

I am sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings but the election has ceased to be about anything but how suddenly we all feel less well off than we did a little while ago. And it would appear from the polls that more people are now blaming the Tories for the stock market debacle. Or perhaps also for being nasty to nice Mr Dion. The behaviour of CTV is beneath contempt – but Harper could not resist the chance of a cheap shot and it has hurt him more than Dion.

Written by Stephen Rees

October 11, 2008 at 8:45 am

Posted in politics, transit

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3 Responses

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  1. There should be a national public transit debate and national standards for providing public transport and funding public transport projects.

    It won’t happen has transit projects are built more to satisfy political and bureaucratic prestige, than to move people. In BC, investment in transit is to boost development, nor to efficiently move people. The result is transit chaos with car drivers almost cemented into their cars as the the alternative, except for a few, is so very poor.

    Malcolm J.

    October 11, 2008 at 10:57 am

  2. We will be worse off financially if we don’t invest in transit, green energy, and green vehicles because the current infrastructure will become unaffordable.

    Personally, I am making a big purchase soon: a bicycle. And as you know me well, Stephen, it won’t be to avoid a car or avoid the bus, but to make transit trips faster and easier in good weather and bad traffic, and generally to have a nice time outdoors. Get this: I bussed home from Bikes on the Drive on the express bus at rush hour, and my 63-year-old father rode from there on his electric-assist bike… and he beat me home. He admitted he was “stepping on it,” which means he was probably doing about 37 kmph, but nonetheless… HE BEAT ME HOME! And with several pounds of apples and eggs, no less!

    Erika Rathje

    October 12, 2008 at 12:21 am

  3. I think there is great merit in developing a national transit program, which would presumably include a national transit funding program.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with building transit-oriented development. Development will happen regardless, so it’s better to have it transit-oriented than car-oriented. The latter has been the paradigm for almost seven decades and THAT is what causes car drivers to be cemented in gridlock.


    October 15, 2008 at 3:54 pm

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