EDITORIAL: Hurry up and wait

Another week. Another federal funding announcement. Another study. We foresee already how the cynics will greet Tuesday’s news of federal dollars for building the business case for a North Shore rapid transit line.

Far from being a sod turning on a new tunnel, bridge, or gondola, it’s a pre-election $250,000 to look at the costs and benefits that would flow from real rapid transit. It follows the Integrated North Shore Transportation Planning Project and the province’s already announced feasibility study for a rapid transit link downtown. And we could be waiting upwards of two years before we see the results. This will be cold comfort to people who have already lost their cool in local traffic.

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But, much like the folks idling on the Cut, we must urge patience. If the feasibility study shows there is a way for it to be done, the business case will show why there should be a will. Ironically, we think rapid transit will be well worth the wait.

The North Shore is no longer a bedroom community. It is a commercial and industrial hub in its own right. But we are far too reliant on the outer ’burbs to house our workers, who have few viable options to get here but in a single-occupancy vehicle. We owe them and ourselves better. Our economic well-being and our habitable climate depend on reversing that trend.

Having congested bridges doesn’t automatically put us to the front of the line when it comes to transportation funding. Obviously. A well-thought-out business case is a critical step that must be taken before a single infrastructure dollar comes our way.

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