Investing $2 billion into transit initiatives is a positive move, but allowing it to derail current public transit initiatives and plans of Alberta's municipalities would be counter-productive.
Nolan Crouse is the mayor of St. Albert and the chairman of the Capital Region's transportation planning committee. Right now, he says, his committee is still trying to figure out the region's transportation priorities. While he's pleased to see the province promising $2 billion for transit projects, he's not sure commuter rail would work.
"Right now, we only have 1.1 million people in this region. It's hard to imagine that some kind of GO-train system would be very cost-effective."
Even if the province were to fund the construction of such a system, he says, municipalities could be stuck subsidizing it. He'd prefer to let the region set its own transit priorities.
Regular readers of this blog will know that public transit is one of my favorite urban growth topics. Investing in a regional transit service for the Capital Region would increase efficiency, cut down on duplication of services and cost created by the three existing transit services (Edmonton Transit Service, St. Albert Transit, and Strathcona Country Transit), and could serve as a key part of a larger transportation strategy to deal with increasing growth pressures in the region.