Monday, September 20, 2010

What makes a transit plan affordable?

The Ottawa Citizen's Leonard Stern penned a great editorial this past weekend about Ottawa's current transit plan, and the many different opinions on whether or not it's affordable. In it, Stern talks about how subjective the term is, and how loosely it can be defined. But instead of trying to summarize what he says, I'll just offer an excerpt of the column--it's recommended reading.
There are people who earn $75,000 per year and can "afford" a Mercedes, just as there are people who make twice that and would say they can't "afford" one. A family with a certain household income will buy a $500,000 home, while another family in an identical financial situation will determine that it can afford only a $300,000 home.

Affordability is more a matter of personality than mathematics. After all, we're all working from the same numbers. The light-rail plan, with tunnel, is estimated at $2.1 billion, to be completed in 2019. It is the first phase of a 20-year public transit plan that will eventually cost at least $6.6 billion.

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