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Alberta Politics

public transit as a federal election issue.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi is on the right track:

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he wants public transit to become an issue in the federal election campaign after Calgary’s system received only a middling score on a new international ranking.

Public transit in Calgary was ranked 13th out of 24 in the world by the Toronto Board of Trade’s Scorecard on Prosperity.

Although Edmonton was not ranked in the Scorecard, the city faces similar challenges as Calgary in terms of public transit, commuter time, and urban sprawl. These issues may not fall directly under the jurisdiction of the federal government, but as community leaders our MPs can play a positive role in encouraging the development of smart public transit in our cities.

6 replies on “public transit as a federal election issue.”

If public transit is such a big issue in Calgary, Nenshi should stop blaming others and instead raise taxes in Calgary to pay for it.

Agreed. The only way our cities will be able to build the infrastructure needed to flourish is with federal support. Otherwise we’re back to more urban sprawl, cookie-cutter suburbs, and choked streets because that’s the cheapest option. I support funding for the west, southeast, and (eventually) north branches of LRT expansion. We’re still playing catch-up from decades of neglect, and we can’t afford to stop now.

Mikkel Paulson
MP Candidate, Pirate Party of Canada
Edmonton Centre

Calgary’s problems are of their own creation.

The burgeoning and never-ending urban sprawl in Calgary makes effective public transit a nightmare.

The federal government, in fact, is great at providing mass transit in Central Canada. Via Rail has six trains per day running between Montreal and Toronto.

You know how many trains are running between Saskatoon and Calgary or Calgary and Edmonton?

None.

This is “federal” effort at work. We pay, THEY get.

Population numbers don’t justify trains running between Calgary-Edmonton-Saskatoon. Should our tax dollars subsidize that form of transportation like they do for local public transit?

People riding a bus are subsidized 50% of the costs association with it by taxpayers. I am all for public transit, but the users of it should pay the costs. Why should tax dollars and governments even be involved? 95% of public transit in Europe is through private contractors, why are we so determined that everything must be government run in this country?

From a purely demographic perspective, comparing train service in the Windsor-Quebec corridor to a hypothetical Edmonton-Calgary-? Saskatoon “corridor” is comparing watermelons to blueberries. The Greater Toronto Area alone has a population of over 3 million; more than the entire province of Alberta. Similarly, Calgary alone has a larger population than the entire province of Saskatchewan. The economics of all that geography combined with so little population make discussions of such a rail service totally different than in such densely populated regions as central Canada (or western Europe, which is also often held up as an example).

That doesn’t mean that inter-city passenger rail service in Alberta & Saskatchewan is a bad idea; it only means that it should be discussed on its own merits, keeping in mind the differences in distance and population density, and not by trying to draw false analogies with southern Ontario.

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