Are you stuck in traffic?
Waiting for a streetcar or bus that may never arrive?
We didn’t get here by accident, of course, and god knows there’s plenty of blame to go round. While the current mayoral administration bears particular responsibility for its consistent lies and pandering to an ill-founded sense of entitlement and manufactured resentment, allied to a transparent and patently destructive divide-and-conquer strategy, it did not do this damage all by itself. It’s had plenty of help, from the province and Ottawa, and from provincial agencies theoretically mandated to prevent this kind of thing from happening in the first place. From the Harrisite barbarians spitefully filling in a tunnel that had already been started, to the provincial Liberals’ initial decision to turtle on the shit-canning of Transit City, to the more recent nod-nod-wink-wink reactions to extravagant and undeliverable signals in the context of provincial by-elections, much of the blame can properly be laid at the doors of Queen’s Park as well. As John writes:
… we can — and should — ask what the orchestrated gutting of the $8.4 billion LRT master agreement, signed by Metrolinx, the City of Toronto and the TTC in November, 2012, will ultimately cost Toronto residents. And we can ask whether the Liberals, in effect, bought a Scarborough by-election last summer by agreeing to bankroll a subway while side-loading well over a billion dollars — the actual sum is unknown — in surplus cost to Toronto residents.
To re-cap: Between the feds, the province and the city, governments have committed $3.05 billion to a three-stop subway that will cover less ground and take longer to complete than the $1.8 billion, seven-stop Scarborough LRT.
Really, take a few minutes and read through the entire series. It isn’t pretty. Staff recommendations, expert advice, and evidence-based warnings all ignored. Public servants kneecapped. Persistent and calculated misrepresentation and lying. Well-considered and fully funded plans torn up for temporary political advantage. Millions of dollars down the toilet. Why, it’s as if we’d left essential matters of good governance in the hands of petulant four-year-olds!
And you’d think, what with us being in the middle of a provincial election, we might have a chance to discuss this intelligently. Yeah, well. Given the current state of public and political discourse, you might not want to hold your breath. I’ve tried, without much success, to get the #FactyEvidencyTransitStuff hashtag trending on the Tweeter, but a guy can dream. (What can I say? Perhaps I don’t have as much of a future in vaudeville as I’d hoped.)
But really, John’s already said it. We’ll return to this theme in the larger context of peak oil and the putative War On The Car, because this is just one symptom of a much more widespread social, political and discursive dysfunction, but at the end of the day, where has all this gotten us? Millions of dollars deeper in the hole and no further ahead on transit. How does this advance the greatest good for the greatest number? How does this represent pooling of resources, combination of expertise, or harnessing of collective efforts?
It’s hard to see how this serves The Public Good.
- Getting past the ‘War on the Car’ | #TOpoli #ClimateChange
- The #TTC Gang of Five | #TOpoli #GaryWebster
- Team Ford to city staff: Keep your expertise to yourself, or else | #TOpoli
- The zombie subway / LRT debate isn’t going to turn on subtleties | #TOpoli #onpoli
- From Grover Norquist to Gary Webster: putting #TeamFord’s #TTC jihad in context | #TOpoli #Toronto
- Toronto’s transit future, LRT, and the need to win back the words | #TOpoli
- Reviving #ThePublicGood, part 6: Government is not a business | #TOpoli #onpoli #cdnpoli
- Reviving #ThePublicGood, part 5: Taxes and the role of government | #TOpoli #onpoli #cdnpoli
- Reviving #ThePublicGood, part 4: civility and inclusion |#TOpoli #onpoli #cdnpoli
- Reviving the Public Good, part 3: civic engagement | #TOpoli #onpoli #cdnpoli
- Reviving the Public Good, part 2: Winning back the words | #TOpoli #onpoli
- Elections and renewing our commitment to the #PublicGood | #TOpoli #onpoli #cdnpoli