Tag Archives: BRT

My Campaign Promise on Rapid Transit.

Reporter Jeff Outhitt just wrote to me the following: I’m reviewing your campaign pledge, in which you said you could not support increasing property taxes to support the LRT proposal. I need to know if you intend to break that pledge or vote against the LRT proposal.

Here is my response:

Here is what I actually said in the election, still on my website, janemitchell.ca. 
“I do not support increasing property taxes to cover the current capital shortfall of the LRT proposal. I was the councillor who asked that a line be inserted in the LRT motion that it would not go forward without council  supporting how it is funded. This was included.”
  I want to see two thrusts to this project.
1. Put the Bus Rapid Transit project back on the table.”  DONE 
” 2. A staff report on LRT showing various ways we might build Light Rail Transit without raising property taxes for the $225 million capital portion” DONE 
 Ideas for ways to decrease the property tax increase came to council a few weeks ago. They decreased the 1.5 percent increase by half to .75 approximately.
At present, the 1.5 to 2 percent proposed increase per year is for the capital shortfall, operating, regular transit, and a reserve fund.  I still need staff to break out what is what in this amount as to my mind, the reductions above will cover the capital shortfall (and also most of the operating).
Update from staff: .3 of the 1.5 is regular transit, of the 1.2 % tax increase the RT capital component is approximately .64% with the operating / maintenance cost component approximating .56% .


Addition of new info: There may also be motions on the day that will find funds to   cover more of the operating and capital. Regular Transit is increasing 25 % as part of the 1.5% increase  .
As mentioned in the article by Tim Mollison, over 100 million was taken from the proposal before it went out to the next round of public consultations.
I am adding here:
I will not be saying how I will vote until you see me vote on June 15th, out of respect for the people presently sending me feedback. Someone may bring forward something important not taken into account.
It is  too bad that councillors’ words are twisted to say we were against LRT in the last election when we were against the increase due to the government funding shortfall.
 I am keeping my promise. It is too bad my comments were not included in the article. That is why I have this blog.
Everyone will know how I vote in time for the next election, as they all knew how I voted in 2009 before the last election. (This is assuming I run in the next election)
Sources for my comments:
25% increase for regular transit for Regular Transit from Memo from Thomas Schmidt answering questions posed by Claudette Millar.
Decrease in amount for LRT proposal :
http://rapidtransit.region.waterloo.on.ca/pdfs/April_12_PW_Report.pdf  A bit hard to find but the suggested reductions are there.

Money for Trains Falls Short

First, THANK YOU to the Province and the Federal government for the biggest grants ever given to the Region. 300 million from the province and 265 million from the feds. Unfortunately it leaves us around 225 million short. This could translate into a between 7 and 12 percent rise in property tax in one year. I can’t accept that, it’s too high a rise. The rest of council also feels the same. I also, due to the ghost of the RIM park scandal in Waterloo, cannot accept the Region taking on a high debt load. Right now we are proud of our aaA rating with Moody’s.

It is too short a time to make a decision before the election, so the next council will decide this.

We will look at some options staff will come up with, such as shortening the line or private partnerships. We will also look once again at the bus rapid transit.

I am still in favour of the light rail transit for all the reasons I have given, but the gap in funding is a bridge too far for taxpayers to  cross. So sad.

If you have any ideas on ways to fund the trains, please leave a comment and I will pass it along to staff for their consideration.