The Future of Mass Transportation – “Streetcars/Buses?”

Ladies and Gentlemen, you just know when vision is lost and things will simply always be the same old, same old, when your politicians think turning back the clock is the road to the future. Lets turn the clock back for a bit, and when you do, you too will feel the same as I do. I’m old enough to remember buying my first IBM XT Computer. A full 5 mb of storage space and a processor that would barely run today’s wrist watch. Oh yes, and I paid $15,000 for it along with a dot matrix printer and a little DOS database program that was 72kb in size. I have over 1000 times that power sitting on my hip right now in my blackberry. And another beauty, a friend of mine couldn’t wait to get his hands on a Sony 40″ Plasma TV, when he finally saved up $10,000 he ran to the store to pick it out, I just bought a 46″ for our family room, ok on sale, but for $549. Today our illustrious Regional Council, maybe more particularly the administration of the region, is trying to shove a 1 billion dollar streetcar option down our throats suggesting that this is the future of mass transportation in the region. Yes, the infamous LRT, stands for Light Rail Transit, soon to be chugging down the streets of the region, stopping at every light, and obstructing the intersection when there is a breakdown or some bright person doesn’t yield the right of way and clips one. So this is progress folks, burying tracks once again, where in my lifetime they were ripped out of the same streets to yield to the vision of the independent vehicle. And for Cambridge, they’ll add a couple of buses, and call them BRT spurs, stands for Bus Rapid Transit. Don’t know about you, but haven’t seen much rapid bus movement around town lately, but, who’s to know, I guess the wise visionaries know something we don’t. I have been trying desperately to find someone who rides public transit, or who will ride this new system, and I’ve come up empty-handed. However, everyone I’ve spoken to about it, will for sure, be paying the bill. You see, the Province knocked their support down by, oh a measly 300 million, the Feds are not likely to make up that shortfall and the region hasn’t released how much the upgrade to the current system (GRT) is going to cost in order to link up to this vision of the future. The Chamber did some preliminary analysis of it, back when the Province was in for the whole whack, and we suggested that a possible increase in the regional tax levy could be in the area of 15%. Now that they are 300 million short, likely pushing the start date back a bit, folks, get ready, because the regions portion of the bill will rise by 30% in the next 5 years to fund this. Let me tell you what that means in dollars, for me personally, at home, it means about $600 more in property taxes. The Chamber will see a $6,000 increase, and the shame of it is, when it’s all paid off, these costs won’t come off our tax bill, they will just find other visionary things to spend it on, like replacing the street cars with something more up to date. I haven’t heard a caller on a local talk radio show phone in to support this, it’s obvious even the Province isn’t totally sold on it, if the Feds come in and make up the difference, well that would be just dumb. I haven’t found a soul who supports this project, in Cambridge or KW, it is just ridiculous. I will leave you with this little task, google “the future of mass transit”, you will find rapid inter-city trains, hybrid buses, elevated rail systems, NO STREET CARS. If the region gets away with this, it will be a tragedy for all taxpayers who live here or own a business here. Do I sound upset? I am!

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