Chair Seiling, Members of Council,
Light Rail Transit was never chosen because it had a lower capital cost than a bus-based solution. The project was chosen because it requires fewer wages to operate than buses, and because the rails it runs on attract private-sector investment. Why would Council, which voted in favour of this project on its merits alone in 2009, vote to reconsider? Has Council not done its due diligence? Or, was the value of the project, and its sister project, the Regional Transportation Master Plan, not properly explained to citizens?
The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Transportation
77 Wellesley St. W.
Toronto, ON M7A 1Z8
Re: Possible Toronto LRT project cancellations
While it is with concern that I read of possible LRT project cancellations in Toronto with the inauguration of Mayor Rob Ford, I would like to take the opportunity to identify a very deserving recipient of the Province of Ontario’s infrastructure funding should Transit City indeed be cancelled.
As your government has already graciously funded Phase 1 of the Region of Waterloo’s Rapid Transit project, as well as the expansion of GO Transit rail service to Kitchener, I humbly submit to you that Phase 2 of the Region of Waterloo’s Light Rail Transit project, as well as GO expansion to the city of Cambridge, should be the first recipient of any moneys rejected by Mayor Ford.
Resounding success at Rally for Rails! At least 200 of you braved the freezing cold for an hour to support the Region of Waterloo’s LRT project. The Rally was covered on CTV, and in The Record.
Remember, the train doesn’t stop here – your friends, neighbours, relatives and local businesses need to know the truth about LRT, and we need your help. If you have run out of double-sided information pamphlets, you can download more for printing at the (PDF) links below:
LRT Info Pamphlet – Greyscale
LRT Info Pamphlet – Colour
Finally, thank you all for coming out today. Each and every one of you who attended helped make this a resounding success!
WATERLOO REGION – Throughout the recent media conversation on light rail transit (LRT), the bigger picture of transit in the Region of Waterloo seems to have fallen by the wayside. In June 2010, Regional Council approved a game-changing new Regional Transportation Master Plan (RTMP). However, it has not received the attention warranted by its importance to the transportation network in Waterloo, Kitchener, Cambridge and the surrounding townships.
“Incoming councils at both levels of municipal government need to remember that Light Rail Transit is part of a comprehensive Grand River Transit network upgrade”, said TriTAG executive member Tim Mollison. “Many politicians are suggesting replacing LRT with Bus Rapid Transit, but this isn’t a cheaper option – its $600 million price tag is for a system that will be over capacity within ten years of opening day, requiring expensive in-operation replacement with rail. Furthermore, cost per passenger would be higher with buses than the proposed rail plan, because you need to hire more union drivers.”
KITCHENER – The Tri-Cities Transport Action Group (TriTAG) has launched a public campaign aimed at encouraging citizens of Waterloo Region to ask the Federal Government to match the Province of Ontario’s $300 million commitment for the Region’s Rapid Transit Project.
“The Province’s commitment has, unfortunately, fallen short of the Region’s request made last year and the repeated hints at two-thirds funding,” said Tim Mollison, a TriTAG founding member. “In falling short of the two-thirds funding convention provided to similar projects in the City of Toronto, the McGuinty Government has added much fuel to local controversy about whether this project has enough funding to move forward.”
TriTAG is inviting citizens of Waterloo Region to use its website to contact their representatives in Ottawa in support of the Region’s initiative. “We believe it is important to facilitate communication between people and their government, especially on issues of such importance,” said TriTAG founding member Taylor Byrnes.
“Despite the gap left by the province, we hope that the Federal Government can step up to bat and match the Province‘s contribution, as was done in the City of Ottawa,” said Mollison. “The Federal Minister of Transport’s office has said the Region will get its ‘fair share’ — it’s time to find out what that means to the Government of Canada.”
The Tri-Cities Transport Action Group is a citizens’ group dedicated to making Waterloo Region a more livable place through better transit and active transportation. For more information, please visit their website at http://tritag.ca
For media inquiries, please contact Tim Mollison at (226) 476-1313 x 801.
Investigation by the Tri-Cities Transport Action Group (TriTAG) reveals that the planned 2010 budget for the Region of Waterloo is heavily skewed towards road expansion and makes minimal investments in transit, cycling, and pedestrian infrastructure.
“While the Region is budgeting $100 million for road infrastructure in 2010, little of that money is for sidewalks and bicycle lanes — and most of that expenditure is almost incidental”, said Tim Mollison, a TriTAG founding member. “Major Regional roads such as Franklin Boulevard, Ottawa Street, Fischer-Hallman Road, Coronation Boulevard, Westmount Road, King Street, and Hespeler Road are all still missing sidewalks. Of the Region’s proposed $100 million transportation budget, less than $1 million is planned for sidewalks, and out of a total expenditure of $2.2 million for sidewalks and bike lanes, only $300,000 is not part of an existing road project.”
With the arrival of colder weather, GRT is seeing a huge spike in ridership and some customers are being left behind as they are passed by full-to-capacity buses. However, without more money from Regional Council now, GRT can’t hire more drivers to put buses on the road or mechanics to keep them there. Write your Regional Councillor and ask for them to provide an emergency increase to the transit budget. The current state of underfunding is not good for the growth of public transit — one morning left out in the cold may well drive those new-to-transit right back to their private vehicles.