THE DEMOCRATIC REPORTER
Pages of Special Interest;
Other Table of Contents;
Scanned, recopied or Internet copy, if there are errors, please e-mail me with corrections:
Opening comments: More at the end.
Mississauga News - Dec 4, 2005 - Letter to the editor, By Therese Taylor.
Thank you for covering the Peel Region's transportation woes (Nov. 9 edition).
I'd like to clarify that the $240,000 is ear-marked for the Smart Commute program, not for mass transit, as stated.
No funds are earmarked for mass transit, nor bicycle paths nor pedestrian walkways. This is a governance issue and at the root of the problem. The only thing the Region can plan for is roads.
Of the Region's transportation policies, Mayor McCallion says there, "is nothing new in the report." Brampton Mayor Susan Fennel expresses her disappointment with it and admits the issue, "is complex, but we haven't talked about air quality."
Why then did both mayors and their councillors ram the report through the approval process, especially when several of our members raised the issues of climate change and health effects.
I'd like to question Mayor McCallion's estimate that $30 billion is required to fix gridlock in Peel. Start-up costs for Viva in York Region were $180 million. This seems, then, a gross exaggeration.
The mayor asks where the money is going to come from. How about from the $700 million the City of Mississauga has in the bank that has already been earmarked for infrastructure improvements?
Ward 7 Councillor Nando Iannicca's comment that, "poor people use transit" is also very telling. Poor transit options and a lack of understanding of what transportation emissions are doing to the planet and our health are the main reasons people continue to travel alone in their vehicles.
However, the best option to alleviate gridlock in the short term is an aggressive implementation of Transportation Demand Management strategies, like the Smart Commute program, along with an equally aggressive public information campaign that addresses climate change and the critical health effects of emissions. Nothing short of a campaign similar to the one implemented for West Nile Virus is needed.
According to Peel Region's Public Health department, about 370 people die in Peel due to bad air each year. Add to this $40 million in health care costs and another $33 million in lost productivity costs. We cannot afford to sit back and allow these statistics to grow. We cannot forget these statistics are attached to real people with real lives.
If Peel can spend $115,000 on West Nile, which has only caused a handful of deaths, how can we continue to ignore this health crisis? That's why the Region of Peel Sierra Club appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board the Region's Long Term Transportation Policies (or ROPA 16).
[COMMENTS BY DON B. - ]
Your Financial Donations are Greatly Appreciated