Brad Clark: the wheels are spinning on transit policy

Brad Clark is a former city councillor and was a candidate for mayor in the 2014 municipal election. Brad Clark (CBC)While watching city councillors question David Dixon about his 10-year HSR transit plan, I heard thelyrics from thechildren's song, "The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round."Dixon answered, "All of the $302 million, I believe would be eligible as itis for an express bus service primarily -- much likeZum, Viva or Pulse". Dixon is right.A quick internetsearch reveals that York Region received Metrolinx funding for their Viva Express Bus service in 2005, tobuild ridership for their higher order transit plan. It appears that York's two funding requests did notmuddy the waters withMetrolinx, rather it helped facilitate funding for both Viva as well as thesubsequent, VivaNext.Similar to York's experience, Dixon believes Hamilton has to build ridership to support LRT. When asked for clarification,Dixon replied, "It is unknown exactly when Hamilton will require an LRT from a technicalpoint of view - a lot can happen in 10 years. However, I do not expect one would be required based oncurrent growth projections for at least 10 years."Dixon is the first HSR executive to make such a blunttechnical statement. While it is refreshingly candid, surely, councillorsrealize that Dixon, Metrolinx, andthe MTO have the same metrics. The Dixon Plan appears to build the need for higher order transit. It is no longer a chicken or egg question.?"An LRT cannot exist on its own," says Dixon. "Transit works as a system - a local bus networkis needed to feed an LRT.In essence, the LRT (or higher order system) becomes the backbone with localbus service feeding into it at various nodesalong it."His 10-yearplan provides improved expressservice, new branding, route rationalization, a new garage, enhanced localservice and preparesHamilton for higher order transit, LRT.Is City Council willing to let the wheels fall off public transit inHamilton, while they wait for the province to fully fund LRT,which cannot be technically justified for atleast ten years? href='' - -