Comment 120908

By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted March 14, 2017 at 14:37:08 in reply to Comment 120907

Our population is going to grow one way or another. The unsustainable way to grow is the way we've been doing it up to now: we have been building automobile-dependent suburban developments on converted farmland, collecting only 60% of the public cost of development through Development Charges, and collecting less property tax revenue than what it costs to maintain the enormous amount of civic infrastructure (roads, water, sewer, waste collection, EMS, transit) needed to serve it. The result is that the city's infrastructure lifecycle debt obligations get worse year after year.

The more sustainable alternative is to focus population growth within the existing built-up area by intensifying currently under-utilized land along strategic transit corridors. This fundamentally changes the trajectory of both the city's growth picture and its financial sustainability. With LRT, we can add many thousands of new residents and jobs along a high-quality transit corridor and without having to build and maintain miles of new suburban infrastructure. We can increase the number of people living and working here while ultimately reducing the number of automobile trips.

This LRT line won't solve the city's problems by itself, but it is a key part of an integrated solution. And if we're going to do it, we need to do it the right way. Sometimes that means pushing back against wrong-headed ideas like reducing the number of bike lanes, but that entails engaging on the issue to make it better, not using it as an excuse to oppose the whole project. (And FWIW the City/Metrolinx have already had a meeting with community cycling stakeholders to come up with ways to improve cycling infrastructure as part of the LRT project.)

As for the procurement model, it's not what I would have chosen had the decision been up to me, but it's what the Ontario Government is actually prepared to do. It would be absurd to oppose a fundamentally sound public investment just because you don't like the way it is being procured. No project is perfect, and waiting for a perfect project means waiting forever.

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