By Ryan McGreal
Published April 15, 2010
Angry faux-populists rarely let mere facts get in the way of their emotive, button-pushing agendas. North York councillor and Toronto Mayoral candidate Giorgio Mammoliti is no exception.
An insightful column in today's Star on the politics of transportation infrastructure reports:
Giorgio Mammoliti boldly announced Wednesday that if elected mayor, he would introduce a $20-$30 registration fee for bikes.
"It's an agenda that seems to be taking over so far in this election. It's all about the downtown core and the downtown agenda, and the suburbs don't want to continue to subsidize these pet projects," he said.
"If those that want to ride bikes want to continue to change infrastructure and cost the taxpayer $4 million a year, then they should pay for it."
Mammoliti's comments cut to the heart of the issue: The car vs. bike debate has little to do with transportation. This electoral wedge item is really just an emblem of every other ideological divide in the city: Rich vs. poor. Uptown vs. downtown. Right vs. left.
The Star article focuses on the left-wing / right-wing divide over city transportation priorities. (Interestingly, Mammoliti comes out of a labour/NDP political background and served in Premier Bob Rae's cabinet, but was known even then for his sometimes-retrograde opinions, for example his opposition to same-sex marriage.)
Taking a different tack, a related piece posted today in Spacing Magazine tackles Mammoliti's arguments on a purely factual basis. It's not pretty.
And if that weren't enough to squash Mammoliti's false dichotomy:
So it's clear that Mammoliti either hasn't actually studied whether his plan would be effective or - more likely - just doesn't care. It's an irresponsible, divisive wedge issue, not a real platform for constructive change.
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