Light Rail Transit (LRT) has been suggested as one of the more environmentally friendly and practical solutions to our increasing traffic congestion.Â It is based on the assumption that there will be adequate ridership to support its operations, scheduled to begin in 2014.Â A further assumption is that there will be an increase of 100,000 people in the central transit corridor (intensification).
TheÂ estimated cost of implementing LRT is $790M (some say as high as $820M).Â Â With Federal funding of $265M and Provincial funding of $300M, we are faced with a shortfall of at least $225M.Â It can only be expected that Regional taxpayers will have to cover this shortfall.
As a resident, I cannot support the additional spending to implement LRT.
On the positive side, the LRT is a forward-looking proposal that suits the linear pattern between Waterloo, Kitchener and Cambridge.Â It is suggested that it will decrease our road-lane requirements for the next 20 years by 40% (some estimate that there would be a savings of $200M).
On the other hand, some groups estimate that regional taxes will have to rise by approximately 9% to build and operate LRT.Â People question the lack of flexibility and are concerned about parking and how they will get to and from the LRT stops.Â Mississauga, Hamilton and London donâ€™t have LRT (although Ottawa is exploring it).Â Brampton is very pleased with the implementation of their new ZUM buses (similar to iXpress).
Could we simply implement smaller, environmentally-positive buses that would provide more flexibility in routes and schedules?Â New Electric buses are replacing fossil-fuelled models in some cities.Â We need improved practical mass-transit connection with the GTA along existing routes to take the single-rider burden off Highways 7, 8 and 401.
In any case, we need to thoughtfully and thoroughly review what it will cost the City of Waterloo if the funding isnâ€™t provided.