Reply to Councillor Ainslie’s email – by Karl Haab

Good afternoon Paul,

Thanks you so much for taking the time e-mail me.

Your assurances that you have always like subways however, don’t wash with me. I can remember the days when you were running around with a large Transit City button and sucking up to David Miller only to do an 180 when Rob Ford got elected. So much for your convictions.

I appreciate that you are concerned how our tax dollars are spent. But as I wrote to Councillor Fletcher the other day, the cheapest is not always the best and we expect City Councillors to have the intelligence to know that. As a person who has taken the time and trouble to visit St. Clair Avenue West several times at different times of the day, to take pictures and make contacts with many people there, I can assure you that the St. Clair Right-of-Way was a grave and costly mistake. And it will get more expensive when you find yourself in the position to have to rip it up like the city did once before. The increasing number of empty stores now testifies that many businesses find it impossible to make a living there and empty stores don’t create new jobs and even the wonderful NDP nor the Liberals or the Communists can’t make empty stores create jobs.

That the city has to pay the costs for cancelling LRTs appears to be what politicians in Toronto do. David Miller’s first act when taking office, to spend $27 million of our tax dollars not to build a bridge to the airport.

Council’s decision to increase our property taxes by 1.6% is a blessing compared to the billions of tax payer’s dollars wasted by the Liberal government for so many things that bring no benefit to us whatsoever. And unlike the Liberal spending, the 1.6% will go towards a good cause – the only project that will improve gridlock.

So LRTs are cheaper to build than subways, but they don’t solve our gridlock problem, they make it considerably worse as TTC studies well document. LRTs are therefore not cheap, they are a complete waste of our tax dollars. With LRTs, why build something stupid when you don’t have the money in the first place? A prudent way would be to do take on fewer projects, but projects that achieve a reduction in gridlock.

So please Paul, stop bullshitting us about your vote. The vote was clearly your vote to seek revenge on Rob Ford for not getting the job of budget chief, and had nothing to do with the best interest of the community. You sold out your community with your petty revenge motive to soothe your bruised ego. Shame on you! I hope your new candidate for Mayor, David Souvlaki has better taste than you, but I doubt it.

Sincerely,

Karl Haab

—– Original Message —– From: “Councillor Ainslie” <councillor_ainslie@toronto.ca>
Sent: Monday, October 28, 2013 11:06 AM
Subject: City Council Transit Debate

October 28, 2013

Dear Ward 43 Residents,

I will start by telling you I have always been a big fan of subways …. I always have, and I always will like subways.

In July I voted for a subway to replace the Scarborough SRT. My decision was based on the fact the province had made financial commitments to fully fund a subway, up to $1.89 billion dollars. Council also requested the Federal government to support a subway. If we didn’t get funding, from both levels of government, we would be building an LRT.

Flash forward to this month’s City Council meeting. The province made a partial commitment, and the Federal government pledged $660 million with a long list of conditions the City of Toronto must meet, including creating public private-partnerships. (Which did not work for Sheppard)

The vote as a result became a choice between:

1) LRT – fully financially supported by the province with no need for property tax increases
2) Subway – with a never ending financial increase to all taxpayers through property taxes:

For instance:
– $910 million property taxes/development charges
– $450 million Automatic Train Control
– $250 – 300 million in construction cost over runs
– $30 – 40 million dollars annually for maintenance
– a 1.6% dedicated transit property tax increase on top of the usual property tax requirements.

The decision was between:

LRT – fully financed
vs
Subway – $1.8 billion dollars and growing every year, payable by us the tax-payers of the City of Toronto.

As a result, all of us will be paying a dedicated property tax of 3 – 5% annually for a very long time to cover the subway costs.
Voting for the subway was not the fiscally responsible action for me to take. I was elected to make sure we get the best value for our tax dollars. I pay taxes too. And I support subways. But I need to be practical and I can’t vote for something purely on emotional attachment, which would subject taxpayers to years of tax increases, and increasing costs to the City.

The City of Toronto faces a huge backlog of repairs which have to be made right across the City. It is already difficult to fund the necessary repairs to our aging infrastructure. Our existing roads are badly in need of repair. We have community centres, libraries and playgrounds which desperately need to be updated. My concern is the added financial pressures will jeopardize our ability to pay for these improvements.
My priority needs to be to serve the residents of Ward 43. Neither LRT or subway route goes anywhere near our Ward. The reality is buses are still the main transit option available to families living in Ward 43. Borrowing today, to build a subway tomorrow, will cost us more and could impact the quality of TTC bus service our area will receive.

Instead of talking about subways, the City needs to be investing in rapid transit to meet today’s transit needs as well as the future needs of our growing community. Simply put, we need to find better, faster ways to move more people to where they need to be. We need a reliable system that is safe, clean and affordable. We need a system people from across Toronto can rely on.
In short, as a result of Council’s vote to move forward with subways, my constituents will pay higher taxes, the City will have an enormous debt to manage, fewer people will benefit from the investment, and the City will not be in a financial position to move forward with other desperately needed transit and infrastructure projects.

Please continue to stay in touch, I look forward to hearing from you on this or any other matter.

Sincerely,
Paul

Paul Ainslie, City Councillor
Ward 43 – Scarborough East
Chair, Parks and Environment Committee
Chair, Toronto Public Library Board
Tel: 416 392-4008
Fax: 416 392-4006

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