BY RANDI CLARKE
Light Rail Transit will not be making its way to Cambridge, and its residents are furious.
Their mayor, Doug Craig, told 570 News on March 4 that some residents want to see the city separate from the region over this issue.
However, Craig said, “You just simply can’t withdraw from the Region, that’s a provincial jurisdiction and that is a complicated and long process.
I’ve been getting a number of emails from residents in Cambridge.
I think what has to be understood – people in Cambridge are angry about this.”
Residents have every right to be upset. Think about it – it’s like your friends going out to watch a movie and expecting you to pay for everything, even though you weren’t invited to watch with them.
That’s just not fair.
Geographically speaking, Cambridge can’t host LRT like Kitchener and Waterloo can.
The city is too dispersed to ever be able to meet the region’s criteria for extending the LRT there. So instead, they are getting express buses.
LRT is expected to cost $1.9 billion, which will cover construction, design, finance, operation and maintenance. It, and the bus expansion, will be paid for by a tax increase of up to 12.9 per cent spread over eight years.
According to Thomas Schmidt, the region’s commissoner of transportation and environment services, the construction alone will cost $532 million.
He also said money will be spent on relocations and land purchases.
The Light Rail Transit construction will begin anywhere from late summer to next year.
Kitchener and Waterloo will be transformed by 19 kilometres of LRT going from Conestoga Mall located in Waterloo all the way to Fairview Park Mall located in Kitchener.
“This is a made in Kitchener and Waterloo plan, with a bill sent to Cambridge,” Craig told the Cambridge Times.
Craig said the LRT is the elephant in the room and it has had a serious effect on the 2014 budget.
It has taken up too much time and has consumed too many agendas.
“This is the wrong mode of transportation in the wrong place at the wrong price and at the wrong time,” Craig said.
Cambridge residents shouldn’t be expected to pay for something that they will not use, After all, none of the townships in the region will financially contribute, as they won’t be receiving the service.