Archive for the ‘Federal Politics’ Category

The Candidates Speak

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

The response to my request for comments on federal candidates’ positions on transit funding and expansion projects (see the previous blog entry) was not encouraging, suggesting that¬†the candidates in Richmond Hill and Thornhill really don’t care about this local issue.¬†Should I receive any late responses, I will update this post with them.

Without editing or commentary added by myself, the responses follow below. Readers may post their own comments.

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Candidates’ Positions

Sunday, September 21st, 2008

My position has been that the federal government should play a role in transit funding, though fairly limited. I don’t believe that project-based funding is the way to go, as it ends up duplicating operations such as environmental assessments. An ongoing transfer payment to provinces for transit capital and operational costs would be better.

Given that the Yonge Subway extension is in place except for one-third of its cost that is expected from the federal government, I have asked for comments on the candidates’ positions in Thornhill and Richmond Hill (the two ridings north of Steeles that the extension would go through). I will collect the responses and place them in an entry next Saturday (September 27).

Though I have only sent out a request for comments to the four major parties in these two ridings, I welcome any comments from any candidate in any riding (email here) and will include them in the posting.

For reference, here is what was sent to the candidates:

While I invite you to take a few minutes to visit the site, I realize from personal experience that a candidate’s time is very limited. In a nutshell, the position of the site is that radial expansion of the subway system is not the most efficient use of public money in terms of providing better transit to the greatest number of people.

The ridings of Thornhill and Richmond Hill are where a current plan to implement a radial expansion of Toronto’s subway system is only being held back by the expectation that one-third of its funding will come from the federal government. It is the opinion of this web site, backed by costing analysis, that the extension beyond Steeles Avenue would better serve the public using a Light Rail implementation, rather than a Subway.

That said, not everyone’s opinion is necessarily in line with this. I invite all candidates in these two ridings to provide their position on this subject. I will be posting all comments received, UNEDITED and without commentary, for readers of the blog to read.

Please email your response at your earliest possible convenience, but no later than Friday September 26. If you have any questions before commenting, feel free to email me.

Need Federal Funding? Just Take It Indirectly!

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

I must be very busy in my day-to-day activities to have not realized this sooner, but having seen nothing in the local media either, I can only conclude that I am not alone…

On January 1, YRT adjusted fares. Well, they raised fares, but not all fares, and not all by the same amount.

Cash fares went up to $3.00, a 9.1% increase from $2.75; Adult tickets went up to $24.00/10, a 4.3% increase from $23.00; and Adult monthly passes went up to $95, an 11.8% increase from $85; all other tickets and passes were unchanged!

Why are monthly pass users being “punished”? Anyone actually paying cash for each fare actually see about the same $10 increase per month, assuming 20 round-trip commutes per month, but the ticket-buying customer only sees a $4 increase. Of course, the pass user gets the tax credit (as long as they have a taxable income by the end of the year).

Oh yes, the federal tax credit. On an $85 pass last year, this results in a credit of $12.75 to the rider.

What YRT has said essentially is, “If the federal government won’t give us any additional money, then we will grab it $10 per month per pass user out of the tax credit.” Of course, with a $95 pass, the credit will now be $14.25, so they’ve only grabbed $8.50 from the pockets of their loyal pass users.

Way to go, YRT!