Comment 119102

By Haveacow (registered) | Posted June 07, 2016 at 09:02:40

Keep in mind when attracting new development offering municipal tax breaks is a bad idea. First, once you offer to one it is expected for all. Second, it is illegal for municipalities in Ontario to offer tax breaks to companies. Only the province can do that (on behalf of the municipality) and with provincial based taxes only! This was done so richer communities couldn't have an unfair advantage over poorer ones and to keep municipalities from offering tax breaks right up to the point of their own insolvency!

In the case of Ottawa starting phase 3 planning, well I think that just over excitement taking hold. Keeping in mind the city of Ottawa will have invested $5.1 Billion in LRT funding yes, but approximately $1.9 Billion of that is and will be local funding. Anytime that subject talked about by anyone here, there is a loud group of voices that wants to redirect that money for other things, immediately. Good for us spending it on rapid transit but that came at the expense of many, many other needed things. Its also one of the main reasons that when people in Ottawa look at certain foolish and short sighted Hamilton area based politicians (because they turning down free money), they first laugh and then scream, "hey if you don't take it we will because we had to give up a lot to get LRT"!

If you think your LRT debate is wild you should have been here in Ottawa between 2003-2011! Or really anytime there is a local election! I can remember an LRT debate and vote at city hall around 2008 that went over three consecutive nights each one starting at 10 am going straight through to midnight. Any group with an opinion on LRT was aloud to speak, and many hundreds did. Finally at 11:30 pm on the third night there was an actual vote, the result was that LRT had been passed and we started a process that led to no fewer than 2 dozen other votes over 2 different councils! Some almost as hard fought as that one in 2008! It was never going to be an easy process!

Another thing to keep in mind about Ottawa's LRT system. Yes, with the Province's 1 Billion and both the Feds and local shares Phase 2 LRT will be a reality. We will have by 2023, roughly 50 km of LRT service, 35km (Electric LRT) the Confederation Line and about 15km of (Diesel LRT) the Trillium Line. The whole network not just original diesel LRT line is now referred to as the O-Train. There is an extra $158 million to from the province to fund about 50% of the capital cost of 5-6 km LRT extensions that we can't afford locally until after 2031. Which is great if and I mean a really big if, the Federal government kicks in the extra money too!

Ottawa will still have around 20 km of BRT Busways (Transitways) and is planning to build at the least 15km of various types, all funded 100% locally! Thankfully, they are being built in lower service areas which dramatically keeps operating costs down and can take advantage of the lower capital cost of building BRT Busway rights of ways from scratch (some types busways anyways) compared to LRT rights of way. The dramatic increase in operating costs due to buses as rapid transit vehicles now and into the future was the primary reason we are converting our Central Transitway to LRT now, which the Transitways were originally designed to do and unfortunately, also because of this fact, helps increase their capital costs as well.

Regardless of some silly and seriously backward thinking local politicians, any new infrastructure that can be seriously transformative, like LRT, is going be hard to bring forward regardless. Simply just proposing a big change like this will, in my own professional experience, cause no fewer than 30% of people to be against it. Even before they have decided they hate or like the idea! It is always easier to say no and keep things the same then vote to change. Its just the way people are. Especially if it involves changing an consistent ingrained behavior like driving. The thought that they may have to drive less or making it a little more difficult to drive in some area of your city is enough for most to say no. Even if it turns out in the end that they eventually really like and or really need LRT in the future.

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