The Toronto Star, often accused of being the house organ for the Wynne government, showed a commendable streak of independent thinking in its investigation of meddling by Transport Minister Stephen Del Duca in the location of two proposed GO stations that Metrolinx plans to build. According to the Star, Del Duca pushed for a Kirby station in his own riding of Vaughan; and Lawrence East, a station in Scarborough backed by Mayor John Tory as part of his “SmartTrack” plan, despite Metrolinx’s experts’ advice against both. Additionally transit experts were ignored when the province OK’d a plan for a one-stop subway to Scarborough instead of the recommended seven-stop LRT that was favored by Metrolinx. Here in Hamilton sound transit planning metrics have been tossed aside in the collusion by the province and local LRT zealots to blackmail Hamilton into accepting an LRT system that is not supported by any objective ridership evidence; or– depending on whether you believe Ted McMeekin or Kathleen Wynne—risk losing out on a billion dollars in transit funding. Transit Boss Dave Dixon was practically run out of town for suggesting the emperor had no clothes. He’s now working on the Toronto Eglinton LRT project—where the numbers actually justify that transit mode. On its establishment the Metrolinx board was made up of municipal politicians. Supposedly to eliminate short-term political decision making, the government changed the governance structure by kicking out the politicians and replacing them with persons with transportation expertise, who would presumably be immune from political influence. Instead the agency has been transformed into an echo chamber for the Ontario Government. The notion of Metrolinx as any kind of independent planning and deliberative body is a joke, and it’s no wonder that CEO Bruce McCuaig and two of his senior staff packed up and left. The only glimmer of hope is that in the next year both the Provincial government, which is behind these poor transit decisions and here in Hamilton, those of our municipal representatives responsible for the squandering of hundreds of millions of dollars, will get a chance to explain their actions to a restive electorate.
One Comment to: Politics trumps evidence in transit policy and we all pay
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