Regional council to reconsider rapid bus transit
The Waterloo Regional Council says it will take another look at the rapid bus transit system. The decision came at Wednesday's budget overview meeting.
The previous council had voted unanimously for light rail transit (LRT). However, the new council voted 13-1 to take another look at rapid buses.
During last fall's election, councillors got an earful from voters who were scared by the $225 million price tag for LRT. That was the estimate given after provincial and federal funding was deducted.
Cambridge Mayor Doug Craig says voters want options and that "they want to have a lower bill and they want a rapid transit system, but one they can afford."
Councillor Jean Haalboom, who voted against the review, believes the rail system will last longer and cost less to operate than buses.
"If you have a light rail system, you could have four cars driven by one operator taking the same number of people," says Haalboom.
Chairman Ken Seiling says the costs for capital projects like transit are not a one year hit, but spread over many years. He says the original evaluation of trains versus buses was a valid comparison.
"It's one that weighs not only money, but advantages in the long term, the future."
Seiling says the comparison also looks at "the advantages on planning, what it does for development and what it does for moving traffic."
The light rail option, which would see rail lines along King Street, would include rapid transit buses to Cambridge.
City staff are expected to review the bus option within a month, after which they will seek public input.