Stop the Light Rail Transit (LRT)
The discussion has been going on for quite some time about the LRT for Waterloo Region with various opinions. Currently there is coalition advertising on the radio to stop this saying that taxes have to go up to pay for this system, it will not be used and we can’t afford it. Mayor Craig and has expended a tremendous amount of energy to stopping this approved transit system.
So I would like to give my two cents worth regarding why we should move ahead with the LRT.
In the 1960’s Kitchener Waterloo made a decision to move ahead and build a new highway locally known as the Conestogo Parkway. Forty years later it is the busiest road system in the region and expanding. The only mistake when building this road system was not securing the rights and land to extend this road into a belt way wrapped around Kitchener and Waterloo. Instead years later we opened the IRA needles parkway which when it opened was already too small.
Now imagine if this road system was never built and how it would affect our city, Oh, we don’t have to imagine we can simply look at Cambridge and London who did not do this and the problems they are now facing.
That aside, here is what we have to keep in mind. The LRT is not for us and many of us will never use this system, however if we are going to progress as a society and prepare for the future we have to build it. The LRT is for future generation and we owe it to them.
This might sound ridiculous but hear me out. Currently the Canadian Government reached 1.2 Trillion Dollars for all the outstanding debt in Canada (that includes all the Provinces). Using the low interest rate of three percent, it means that we are spending Thirty Six Billion Dollars annually to just pay the interest on this debt. God forbid that interest rates go back to the norm, say 5%!
This debt will not be paid off in our life time and future generations will be stuck with this debt. Have we seen any countries recently that have massive debt and how it is impacting their economy? Shall we say Greece, or Spain! We have spent so much money for programs that we need but we have not funded these programs. In other words we have simply borrowed money to pay for them and mortgage future generations. If we have to fund all of these programs taxes must go up much higher or we have to cut back on these programs. The problem is that higher taxes simply take capital out of circulation and kills the economy and subsequently reduces taxes. What we really should do is cut back on these programs to balance the budget as this is what we would do in our household. However, we all know that this is not going to happen because the politicians do not have the guts to do this and public who would be affected by this will revolt.
Now imagine running your business this way or your family budget, you will be bankrupt and going to the food bank to support your family. So why is Government allowed to do this?
This is important to understand because it is for this reason why we must do this now as we owe it to future generations as they are going to be screwed. We have lived a great life on the back of future generation so we need to help them out just a little.
That aside, now let’s talk about gas prices, in the last 30 years gas prices has risen more than 250% and I suspect that it will continue to rise over the next 30 years. What will this mean to the average family and how will it affect us all. Add to this that the population growth in our Region will grow by 50 percent.
Here is the point to keep in mind, when gas prices go up and double, families will have to make a decision. Do they fill the gas tank or put food on the table especially when they will have less money fewer benefits or higher taxes? I suspect that the decision would be to put food on the table. Then how will these people get around when they can’t afford to drive or don’t have a car?
The time will come when families simply can’t afford to have two vehicles and will have to rely more on public transportation.
Now what about our population growth and the Places to Grow Act that have frozen our city boundaries so that we are not using up valuable farm land to expand housing. Have you noticed an intensification of our city core? As a matter of fact all the three mayors in our region have publically stated that the greatest activity is in the down town core. If we are adding more people to the city and not expanding the boundaries we will have more people in high rises. You simply have to drive to up town Waterloo to see how many high rises have gone up to house people and this trend is starting to happen in Kitchener and Cambridge.
This is not a bad thing and a sign that we are maturing as a City and Region and we have to prepare for the future. This means that we have to have an efficient public transportation system to move people from one location to another and the best and most economic way to do this is with a light rail system.
I know it will take time to expand the rail to Cambridge but I have to believe that it will eventually be done as the population grows. I would just rather have the infrastructure in now when we know we can do this rather than later when the money simply will not be there!