Comment 87599

By Mal (anonymous) | Posted April 01, 2013 at 14:41:36

McCuaig ‘s default oratorical setting is “oatmeal,” but he can two-step with the best of them. The 14-word run of “what I think is a great opportunity to build light rail transit rapid transit” contains at least three potential escape hatches.

The funding principles he describes seem similarly porous.

Principle 2, “Fairness”, is a fabulously squishy yardstick and subjective criterium. Anything that alleviates the infrastructure pressure west of the Brant Street exit can be reasonably argued to benefit all in the GTHA. It has been claimed that gridlock in the GTA saps the provincial economy of an estimated $6 billion a year. The population of the GTHA is roughly 6.5 million. That goes to Principle 3, “Equity Around the Region”. Notice that, as in principle 2, that he avoids the pitfalls of “equality” or “proportionality”. There is considerable latitude built in. In addition to partnering with the HSR and providing Hamilton’s GO service, Metrolinx also helms roadwork such as widening the 401 ( Depending on the legislative legalese, “equity” might be a gimme. Electrification on the Lakeshore West Line or putting a handful of GO buses into the rotation could constitute transit improvements.

All in the GTHA will ultimately benefit from The Big Move in some way, even if it’s just improved goods movement. That gives the government a free hand in engineering its dedicated levy, and justification to do as it wishes. As always, it probably comes down to political arithmetic.

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