Brampton Set to Host LRT Open House
The Brampton LRT deliberations are about to move into another public consultation phase at the end of February.
On Feb. 28 in Brampton City Hall's main foyer, Metrolinx will host an open house regarding the upcoming Hurontario LRT from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. This will be more of a one-on-one interactive format, whereby people can examine display boards and direct questions to the actual transit experts.
Expect a plethora of transit engineers and financial analysts to be in attendance to answer questions. If you are interested on what the latest updates pertaining to the LRT project are, here are some helpful suggestions one can ask:
Why are Kennedy and McLaughlin being considered again after first rejection?
The city of Brampton commissioned a report from SNC Lavalin on the viability of having the LRT run along Kennedy or McLaughlin. But after SNC Lavalin released their study and had it peer reviewed, they found that the ridership just did not exist along either Kennedy or McLaughlin, and firmly rejected both proposals.
So if these alternative routes were rejected by a reputable engineering firm the first time, why are they being brought up as viable again—especially with a $4.4 million price tag?
How will Brampton pay for all of this?
The $1.8 billion that the Ontario government put on the table was for the Hurontario/Main Street alignment. Once Brampton City Council voted to reject that route, the money was gone. It's not saved in the provincial coffers somewhere in Queens Park. As Mayor Jeffrey said during the Committee of Council, there is currently no confirmed funding mechanism for this study on the alternative LRT route.
That means Brampton residents and taxpayers are on the hook for this project. What council did was take $4.4 million from the General Rate Stabilization Reserve (GRSR) to pay for the study. The GRSR is a contingency reserve fund designed to pay for something unforeseen or to protect taxpayers from major volatility in the tax rates. In more simple parlance, it's a rainy day fund for emergencies.
Studying this already rejected idea for alternative LRT routes is not an emergency and it's fair to question this particular decision.
What would the cost for increased bus services along these two routes and/or Main Street be?
But if you prefer to push forward some positive ideas rather than just show up to rant and rave, perhaps you could propose what Fight Gridlock in Brampton's transit advocate Kevin Montgomery has proposed: a pilot of increased Zum bus services along Kennedy and McLaughlin to see if it boosts ridership.
By doing so, you can at least see if you can build up the consumer demand before spending a few million dollars of Brampton taxpayer monies on an LRT that people may not end up riding. At this point it may be simpler and more cost effective just to improve Zum service along Main St from Shoppers World to the Brampton GO station.
These are just some suggestions of what you can ask at the LRT open house, but feel free to ask your own as well. The lifeblood of civic engagement is the willingness of the average person to speak to those in power.
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