Friday, October 15, 2010

The Big Picture

Transit is not just one issue; it is the issue that underscores the need to make better and affordable decisions on behalf of current and future taxpayers.
Would you spend $6.6 billion to increase transit ridership by 7%?
Transit riders want fast, reliable, comfortable, environmentally friendly and affordable service and taxpayers – transit and non-transit users - want value for their dollar.
The City of Ottawa is about to embark on a phased 20-year $6.6 billion project to increase transit use in the nation’s capital by 7% between now and 2031.[1] The return on that investment of your taxes - be they federal, municipal or provincial, user fees or development charges - is a wasteful use of your hard-earned money.
What do we really need now – a $750 million investment or a $2.1 billion expense?
One of the major issues bus passengers experience are the delays and inconveniences experienced because of bus gridlock in the downtown core which has a domino affect on service throughout Ottawa.
There is no disagreement on the need for a tunnel to alleviate that congestion and improve service.  A bus tunnel constructed at a cost of $735 million will solve that problem and it will leave immediate options open to improve and extend the transitway east, south and west.
·         The construction of twin, single lane bus tunnels will improve the downtown flow which will improve the overall speed of the system.
·         A 10% increase in speed will result in an annual cost savings of $40 million;
·         180 fewer buses will be needed – another enormous saving
·         An improved transit system by 2015 with less disruption to transit users
·         It builds on a transit system that is rates as best in North America based on rides per capita by American and Canadian transit Professional Associations.
In October 2009, the City unveiled a plan in which it identified a capital funding requirement estimated at $6.6 billion for new transit infrastructure between 2010 and 2029.[2]  A total of $3.9 billion is required for transit improvements scheduled to take place between 2010 and 2019. The balance of the funding plan - $2.7 billion for 2019-2029 – has been identified but not refined.
The  comparisons on Street Car Rapid transit and Bus Rapid Transit are based on City of Ottawa financial data and reflect the net costs to the City - $849.3 million for street car vs. $8.3 million for bus.

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