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Poverty should spur light rail: City

Socio-economic factors should sway Metrolinx, officials believe.

By Eric McGuinness

(published in the Hamilton Spectator on February 20, 2009)

Hamilton believes light-rail transit across the lower city will benefit enough poor and old to give the project higher priority over affluent suburban areas across the Toronto area.

The board of Metrolinx, the Greater Golden Horseshoe transportation planning agency, is meeting today to approve principles of a framework for deciding the order in which its first 15 priority projects will be built.

Two are already approved, four had funding approved before Metrolinx came into being and the others are competing for first chance at some of the $11.5 billion promised through the MoveOntario 2020 allocation.

City officials are happy to see the proposed Metrolinx criteria include such social factors as how many low-income and elderly residents would be served by the proposed transit routes. Other criteria include effects on the economy and environment.