Transit Instead of Wellington Extension

Letter published in the Kingston Whig Standard February 19, 2016

In her letter (Funding for transit infrastructure a priority, February 18th), Mary Farrar suggests that Kingston should take advantage of the opportunity presented by the federal government’s new green infrastructure investment plan; otherwise we risk missing out. I entirely agree.

As MP Mark Gerretsen stated at the Feb 9th pre-budget consultation, the federal government is planning to nearly double federal infrastructure investment, adding $60 billion dollars in new infrastructure over the next decade, to be divided equally between public transit infrastructure, green infrastructure and social infrastructure. Canada’s major cities are already lining up. Toronto has already been pledged nearly $2 billion in infrastructure dollars for its SmartTrack plan, and is likely to receive federal help to finance extensions of the Crosstown LRT line, as well. In BC, Vancouver and Surrey have been all but assured that they will receive large amounts of federal funding for their $3 billion plus subway and $2 billion plus light rail system. These are all transit infrastructure projects.

Since the new infrastructure funding is to be provided over the next decade, there is time for Kingston to develop a thoughtful transit proposal to make our city more livable. The first priority that comes to mind is creating a reliable, convenient transit system that runs between north Kingston and downtown instead of building the proposed Wellington Extension. Preserve our waterfront for the use of people walking and bicycling and enjoying nature instead of using it as a passageway for cars. Give us a K&P Trail that will be a path through quiet green space, not a sidewalk along a major road. Improving public transit instead of building the Wellington Extension is a plan for a more livable, green, people-centred city that perfectly fits the funding criteria of the federal government’s new $60 billion infrastructure investment program.

— Mary McCollam

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