Comment 103135

By JayRobb (registered) | Posted July 09, 2014 at 17:11:35

Speaking from experience, blunt conversations generally lead to reality checks rather than blank cheques.

And for a possible preview of that blunt conversation on Hamilton transit, there was this column in yesterday's Toronto Star, courtesy of R. Michael Warren - a former corporate director, Ontario deputy minister, TTC chief general manager and Canada Post CEO...

"The credit rating agencies will be looking closely at next week’s fiscal plan. Moody’s recently affirmed Ontario’s current rating, but downgraded the outlook from stable to negative. Moody’s warned the province that continued accumulation of debt could jeopardize their rating and thus increase borrowing costs. The interest on the current debt is a staggering $11 billion a year — the third-highest expenditure behind education and health care.

"Over 60 per cent of the province’s public infrastructure is more than 50 years old. The $130 billion, 10-year infrastructure plan was a welcome election commitment. So was the promise to make future infrastructure investments based on “rigorous business case analysis.

"Not all the dozens of transit, road, school, hospital, college and university projects mentioned during the election can be priorities. Next week is an opportunity to begin using the business case criteria to identify the highest return projects for early implementation. This is another area where investments can be phased in slowly until the operating deficit is eliminated."

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