As Metrolinx prepares to begin a large-scale public consultation effort to find supportable ways to pay for transit expansion across the region, officials in Halton are telling the provincial agency that they should expand transit service before asking citizens to pay for more.
[Note: The Toronto Star tends to re-use URLs for related stories as the event unfolds. At the time if writing, the URL led to the story I am discussing.]
Looking at Halton’s argument for a moment, I must point out that it is one that I hear quite often and feel very frustrated every time I hear it. We all know why improvements have been slow to arrive (I’ll give you a clue – it’s lack of money), so making this argument is like saying “we won’t give you money until someone else gives you money.” At best, that makes it a stall tactic to force someone else to fund transit. Since this hasn’t worked in the last 20 years, I do not see how it will be effective for more than the odd one-off project. At worst, though, it is a preemptive “no” to the notion of paying for a better transportation system. However, “no” comes with consequences which are far worse than saying “yes”.
Halton has a lot to be angry about, as does Peel, Toronto, Durham, York, Hamilton and the surrounding regions and counties. And, they should have an opportunity to make a case as to why their projects deserve priority. But, when people in my life disappoint me I’ve found that pushing forward and retaining 100% of the spoils is much more satisfying than reliving the disappointment over and over again.