Windsor lost millions of dollars in the Federal Government’s March 22 budget. Interviewed on CBC Radio, just after federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau brought his new budget to Parliament Hill, Edmonton mayor, and Chair of the Nation’s Big City Mayor’s Caucus, Don Iveson talked with excitement of a new way for the government to dole out money to major cities for transit projects.
Cities will now know what their share will be in advance. It will amount to $25 billion from the new budget and previously announced infrastructure funding.
This will help cities planning or building rapid transit systems.
Windsor is not among them although, geographically, it is well-suited to fixed path transit because of its historic development along the shores of the Detroit River and Lake St Clair.
Edmonton began its system in the 1970s by linking Commonwealth Stadium, in the northeast, to the downtown. In Windsor, a singular line could serve all of the city.
Edmonton has developed an almost a perfect circle of a city with the North Saskatchewan River running through the middle. It has spent four decades expanding the system to make it truly useful to the complete population.
A single line for Windsor would promote less costly, higher density development along the route, as proven by what has happened in other cities.
With a connection to the university, student housing could spread out along the line. Rapid bus routes, similar to Kitchener-Waterloo’s network, could facilitate quick access to downtown and the university from the county.
The main and downtown university campuses would be nicely linked.
Unfortunately, with its archaic transit system and no plans for advancement, Windsor is leaving money on the table. Of course, this system would benefit regular folk, a group City Council has no interest in serving.
This was proven conclusively with it spending millions to cover the costs of a rich, foreign swimming competition, as it did last December; about $30 million all told. For that, FINA has yet to even issue a personal thank you to its benefactor.
The money it grabbed could have been put to use helping to build a better, more advanced city; a world class city with world class transit.
It covered the cost of hotels in Detroit and Leamington, foreign-owned airlines, and even the expenses of volunteers from foreign lands.
To add insult to injury, money also went to bus companies from afar. Apparently Windsor Transit was not suitable for the precious darling swimmers.