Monday, May 31, 2010

The wonders of second-guessing

The CBC posted a pretty fun article looking at what the $930M recently spent by the federal government to provide security for the upcoming G8 and G20 summits in Toronto this June might have bought if directed elsewhere. For instance, the feds could have nationalized three NHL teams currently for sale (Phoenix, Colorado, and Atlanta) and moved them all to Canadian cities. Or forgiven the student debt for more than 33,000 Atlantic Canadian graduates. Or given every Canadian a year's worth of maple syrup, with more left over.

A few of Canada's biggest cities would have liked the money, too. From the article:
Toronto transit officials might like to get their hands on that security budget. It would've covered the cost of the Sheppard East Light Rail Transit line. But it would've taken the city four years to eat up that budget before the 15-kilometre long route opens in 2013.

Calgary could have used the cash to pay for a long-planned tunnel linking northeast communities and businesses to Calgary International Airport. The city says the estimated cost has gone from $287 million to around $900 million, so it won't likely be built this decade.
The City of Ottawa wouldn't have had a problem getting their hands on some or all of those dollars, either. We're still waiting on that funding pledge for our recent light-rail plan, which we're only asking $600M for (or even a little more, to help offset the price tag that's climbed from $1.8B to $2.1B before getting started), so $930M would have been alright, too.


Unknown said...

And what's even worse, is that it's 1 billion dollars for just three days if I'm not mistaken. Not sure what's the purpose of the meeting anyways. We can't afford these types of superfluous meetings, events.

Unknown said...

Was there an agreement at some point that each level of government would contribute with a third of the cost of the light-rail? If not, was there ever a case in some other project in the country, in which the federal government had a bigger share?

Peter Raaymakers said...

Well, there is a gentleman's/gentlewoman's agreement, in a way. All three levels have continually said they would be willing to split the project three ways, but having those promises backed up with actual dollars is always a struggle.