Mega-project critic should be more selective

Letter writer should put apples with apples in criticizing projects

Re: Region backpedalling headlong to tax ruin (Op-ed, Oct. 31)

In his column about the need to apply the brakes to a growing list of mega-projects, Stan Bartlett lumps together sewage treatment infrastructure ($782 million), the Johnson Street Bridge ($92.8 million), light-rail transit ($950 million) and a 25-year pedestrian and cycling infrastructure plan ($220 million).

Two of these projects – sewage treatment and the bridge – are one-off, all-or-nothing affairs.

The other two represent multi-phased opportunities to transition away from what is widely recognized as a wholly unsustainable mode of transportation (automobiles and the very expensive road networks needed to operate them) toward modes of transportation that are more sustainable in every sense of the word (i.e., economically, environmentally and socially).

If your objective is to save taxpayers some money “during this period of restraint,” you are far better off focusing your efforts on more imminent and one-off mega-projects, as the full cost of these will be incurred much sooner and spread over a much shorter period of time.

In the meantime, as new “alternative” transportation networks gradually get built over the next two decades, more and more people will be able to leave their money-guzzling vehicles at home (or perhaps go without them altogether) and really start saving some money.

By the way, I’m a commuter-cyclist without a stitch of spandex in my wardrobe.

Tom Berkhout

Victoria

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