Fix the HSR
Before you sign, here are some quick facts on Hamilton transit:
- Hamilton has been spending increasingly less on transit over time. Adjusting for inflation to 2016 dollars, the city spent $83.85 million on transit in 1994, $61.15 million on transit in 2005, and $59.02 million on transit in 2016.
- Hamilton City Council approved the Rapid Ready transit plan, which requires a capital investment of $156 million and a commitment to address an operating cost shortfall of $45 million. Council also approved the Ten Year Local Transit Strategy which includes a requirement to invest $57 million on new buses alone. While these plans have been approved, Council has yet to commit these dollars, and scheduled fare increases are insufficient to cover the costs.
- Each year the federal government gives cities money generated from the federal gas tax with the intent that it be invested in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, clean our air, and clean our water. Many cities across the country spend their gas tax money on transit. However it's different in Hamilton, of the $32 million in federal gas tax transfers to Hamilton in 2016, $3 million went to transit and $29 million to road work.
The HSR is broken and it’s time to fix it. We’re calling on Hamilton City Council to take our city’s transit needs seriously by committing to substantially increase funding for the HSR.
There are a number of actions Council can take in the short term to increase funding, such as spending more of our federal gas tax dollars on transit, like other cities do. Hamilton can also raise taxes to deliver the transit we need and deserve. The scheduled fare increases are not going to fix the HSR while tax dollars for transit remain stagnant.
Public transit is a public good, and enhancing service will bring benefits to residents across Hamilton.