Thursday, 5 March 2009

Playing Chicken with Transit: Tremblay Wants Cuts, But Is He Hoping to Get the Feds and Quebec to Climb Aboard?

The Société de transport de Montréal was told to find $40 million to cut from its budget the next fiscal year by Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay yesterday. In all, Tremblay says that $155 million in cuts will have to be found to balance the cityi's books, since revenue from fees and taxes are falling. The borough administrations are going to have to find places to save, which may mean fewer services.

That would be too bad, but the proposed cuts to public transit budgets are the ones that are the most upsetting. Public transport is the way we have to go, both to solve our urban and climate problems and to relaunch the economy. Investing in public transit is an excellent way to provide more jobs as well as to get something that will last for our stimulus dollars. As I wrote yesterday, even a place like Tampa is hoping to use money freed up by the crisis to redress problems which come from our dependence on the automobile to get us around.

But it could be that Tremblay is hoping that the proposed cuts will raise enough concern for the federal and provincial governments to kick in more money for public transit. In that case, where’s the petition? I want to sign.

1 comment:

lagatta à montréal said...

Returning from a brief work trip to Amsterdam, my head is still full of the vision of tramlines. The modern trams are at least as impressive as all the bicycles - the new version are accessible to people in wheelchairs and parents with babies in strollers. And there are trams in very snowy cities too.

Not to mention the fact that sleek modern trams are very beautiful. Imagine one gliding up the hill past Mont-Royal, on avenue du Parc, instead of the utterly saturated busline.

There used to be a tramline right on the street where I currently live, in Petite Italie.

We need to take climate change, carfree (or car-reduced) cities and job creation seriously. Yep, it means deficit spending, but that is necessary in a deep recession. (Though I should leave the economics to your hubby).