Monday, February 2, 2009

News Brief

There was an interesting article in the Toronto Star about public transit in, you guest it, Toronto. Anyway, Toronto has some big plans for transit including a light rail project called Transit City. The only item that is being built right now is the Spadina Subway Extension.

Anyway, the article in The Star interviewed one of the engineers on the project. He hails from the UK. He comments on road pricing and how far Canada is behind in public transit.
Our inadequate public transit system also provides a convenient justification for politicians to argue against taking down the Gardiner Expressway and other such moves. Even Toronto Mayor David Miller has been known to use this excuse.
But we have reached the point where even Premier Dalton McGuinty is speaking about the "fundamental challenges" faced by the province's increasingly creaky economy. Our sagging competitiveness results from the same outdated thinking that fails to recognize the importance of transit.

Still, Toronto and the GTA are waiting for money they need to catch up. And the fact is that funding won't be forthcoming any time soon. So we have reached the point where economic priorities and environmental imperatives are one and the same.
Meanwhile in an opinion piece in The Star...
There's good reason for municipalities to dread devils that may be lurking in the federal budget's details. Ottawa's previous attempt at infrastructure spending – the lamentable Building Canada Fund – served only to tantalize cities while starving them of help.
Finally, the National Post has a story titled "Large P3 projects may not make the grade". It talks about how the two year spend-it-or-lose-it federal infrastructure funding will make it hard for many P3’s to get off the ground. It also talks about how the credit crunch has dried up P3 money.
Despite the Port Mann glitch, Mr. Falcon is optimistic that other P3 projects will proceed, and has identified the Evergreen transit project, mentioned in the federal budget, as a possible contender. "There's a substantial financial commitment by taxpayers -- $800-million -- to move the project forward, and it's my understanding from experts in the P3 world that this makes it an attractive project," says Mr. Falcon.

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