Bracko's dream carries big price tag
| Posted: Wednesday, Mar 06, 2013 06:00 am
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In my advertisement in The Gazette of Feb. 20, I suggested that the St. Albert LRT project was unnecessary, unrealistic and unaffordable. At the Feb. 25 council meeting, Coun. Len Bracko insisted that his “vision” was affordable since it would only cost every citizen of St. Albert about $4.00 per day or a cup of coffee. Since I was not at the council meeting to respond to his “vision” of an LRT running from the old Newman Theological College site down the St. Albert Trail to Walmart, I would like to respond.
First, the St. Albert leg of the LRT is completely unnecessary in the foreseeable future. If and when Edmonton builds the northwest leg from NAIT to the old Newman Theological College site, everyone in St. Albert can quickly travel by bus or car to that terminal and board the LRT for Edmonton if they so choose. An LRT line which would reduce the traffic flow and the aesthetics of the Trail is completely unnecessary now or in the foreseeable future.
Second, Coun. Bracko’s dream is completely unrealistic. Recent estimates indicate the St. Albert line would cost at least $1 billion. My information is that neither the provincial nor the federal government has any intentions of funding an LRT for any small community of 63,000 people. There would simply not be sufficient passenger traffic to justify that kind of public expenditure when they have other priorities like twinning the road to Ft. McMurray. Therefore it is unrealistic since we will not get the provincial or federal grants despite Coun. Bracko’s suggestions to the contrary.
Third, it is unaffordable. Using Coun. Bracko’s figure of $4.00 per day per person, that translates into an increase in taxes of $1460.00 per year for a family of four. Paying that tax over a 20-year period translates into $29,200.00 per family. In Coun. Bracko’s world that may be chump change, but it is not chump change for a young family trying to raise their family and meet all their monthly expenses. They could put that money to a much better use than paying for Coun. Bracko’s desire to create a legacy for himself at the expense of retirees on a fixed income, salaried workers, and young families.
St. Albert Taxpayers Association
12 Desmarais Cres.