LTC (and other public services) and Taxes

by

Her Worship the Mayor, and London City Council
c/o Mr. Kevin Bain (kbain@london.ca), City Clerk

2005/12/09

FOR PUBLIC RELEASE.

The 2005/11/30 meeting of the London Transit Commission included a 2005/10/25 communication from the City Clerk, Kevin Bain, and which itself reflected an 2005/10/24 inquiry from ward 7 Councillor Paul Van Meerbergen with respect to the status of public transit for the community of Lambeth. In his letter to the Mayor and members of City Council, Councillor Paul Van Meerbergen asserts that “a bus route to Lambeth is needed now” and he asks, “why is a bus route to Lambeth not in the current plans?”

In his tactfully worded response to the Councillor, LTC General Manager Larry Ducharme referred to such things as return on investment and population growth projections, etc.

Allow me to provide my own interpretation of the situation.

Public transit, and many other necessary public services in London, is inadequately funded. That is why there are insufficient numbers of buses in operation, necessitating unacceptable wait times by transit users, and negatively impacting ridership. That’s also why we continue to see increases for monthly passes, tickets, and cash fares. And those increases, combined with poor service, further negatively impacts ridership.

Why don’t our elected representatives put their supposed concern for the environment where their mouths are? For years I have advocated 100% government funding of public transit. Increased individual taxes to fund the public service could be more than offset by individuals who abandoned their private automobiles and who would then realize many associated costs. At the same time, the LTC would undoubtedly realize substantial savings from no longer having to collect fares, manufacture and sell passes/tickets/transfers, etc. The municipality would realize substantial savings in maintenance to our roadway infrastructure from reduced traffic, reduced numbers of vehicle collissions, a reduced need for police traffic enforcement, etc.

The biggest obstacle to increased funding for public transit, or any other public service for that matter, is Councillor Paul Van Meerbergen. More than any other current local politician, he has consistently argued for reduced municipal taxes.

It’s a popular position to take, especially as election time approaches. But why don’t I ever hear Councillor Paul Van Meerbergen talking about the downside? Why doesn’t he ever refer to the impact upon those members of our community who depend most upon public services?

It was with considerable interest that I recently read of the Councillor’s request for walkway lighting in Byron, following the recent regretable attack in that community. And I wonder, does Councillor Paul Van Meerbergen not make any association between the inadequate funding which is being earmarked for pathway lighting in London, and his own political posturing at budget time?

Sincerely,

Mr. Greg Fowler.

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