Big Yellow Taxi


Today in unflattering, if unfair, but also fun and vaguely instructive, comparisons.

Washington PostPresident Obama today signed into law a $787 billion economic stimulus plan that he said begins “the essential work of keeping the American dream alive in our time.” In a speech and signing ceremony in Denver, Obama said the new law is aimed at creating millions of jobs and halting the U.S. economy’s downward spiral … Obama said the legislation will save or create 3.5 million jobs over the next two years, pulling the nation back from the brink of what he has called a potential economic catastrophe. The measure aims to spur job growth through massive new investments in energy, transportation, education and health-care projects, while reviving social safety-net programs.

National PostPrime Minister Stephen Harper touched down in Toronto this morning. He and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty rode into a GO train maintenance shed aboard a special GO train to announce $500-million in new money for GO. Of the money, $173-million will add about 5,000 more parking spaces at 12 GO train stations around greater Toronto. Another $75.5-million goes to the Hamilton Junction Project, a job to rebuild the rails in downtown Hamilton so that more trains can leave Hamilton every day for Toronto … The parking structures he is funding are all in the 905 region, including $30.5-million for a new GO parking structure in Cooksville (downtown Mississauga) and $30-million for a structure in Erindale (also Mississauga.). The third big parking garage is a $30.5-million job in Oakville.


Big Yellow Taxi

  1. You’re right, Aaron. It’s grossly unfair to attempt to paint Obama as an aloof, overreaching, pie-in-the-sky idealist, with big goals but no specific plan on how to reach them, whilst at the same time portraying Harper as a practical, focused, man of the people with meticulous attention to detail. Your anti-Obama bias is shining through, once again.

    • Biases, eh? The commentary to the G&M coverage of the GO train announcement is illuminating. It is well noted, for instance, that ridership on the TTC lines is far, far larger than the GO Train, although the party makup of the MPs in the respective ridings where GO Trains and the TTC are found are, well, markedly different. Nonetheless, $500 million is announced for immediate and specific plans for GO Train expansion but nothing for the TTC.

      If that’s not partisan, it’s at the very least neither practical nor efficient. Yet you assumed it was not the former and definitely the latter…

      • I assumed no such thing. I was gently teasing Mr. Wherry, who (uniquely among Canadian reporters) was trying to paint Harper in a negative light compared to Obama. I was pretending like I thought he was being even slightly critical of Obama and favourable towards Harper! Get it? Get it? Is this thing on?

    • That’s funny Olaf. I rather had the feeling that Aaron was poking a little fun at the conflicting image of one man who is attempting to, in a time of crisis, stimulate all of his country. And on the other hand of one who is attempting to stimulate his way to a majority through stimulus in an area of Toronto that he badly needs to buy..er stimulate. Of course as long as the improvrments are needed and sensible…

      • Yea, that’s what I assume he was doing as well. But with Wherry, it’s always a guessing game. Normally he’ll link to a story, conjure up an obscure headline and make a few ambiguous little comments. Then he wheels around in his big leather chair, strokes his Birman cat and smirks knowingly whilst the readers try to figure out the point he’s trying to make. Fools! Fools! All of you! Mwahaha!

        • Olaf
          You forgot the Dr Evil little finger thing.

        • Yes, wherry does ambiguous very well. As do you, King Olaf. But I just don’t know why you add ‘dickish’ and ‘blindly defensive of Harper’ to your ever-unfolding repetoire…

          • But I just don’t know why you add ‘dickish’ and ‘blindly defensive of Harper’ to your ever-unfolding repetoire…

            That’s a question for the ages…

  2. I would agree Olaf. If I were parachuted in from another place and did not know either of the politicians would choose Harper anyday. It’s all about getting the job done!

    • Pray tell: what job is Harper getting done? Do you realise that Ontario is spending $25 billion on transit in the next 15 or so years. This federal commitment is a rounding error.

      • On a 15-year scale, it may seem like a rounding error.

        On a one-year scale, a half-billion dollars represents a 30% increase in total transit spending for Ontario. On a two-year scale, it represents 15%.

    • Oh Wayne. Never change!

  3. You know, if McGuinty and Harper put the money into developing a usable and reliable transit system that would serve communters’ needs to get to the station in the first place, we wouldn’t need parkades. Wouldn’t it be better to keep people out of their cars in the first place?

    • Unfortunately the GO Train services suburb/exurb communities of Toronto that are designed in the opposite direction of efficient public transit. If wishes were ponies…

      • Unfortunately? The suburb and exurb folks should all drive their cars instead?

        Goodness, even this evil small-c conservative heartless SOB can see the merits of municipal and regional public transit. Not the merits of the federal government poking its nose in, mind, but at least the concept of public transit makes sense, to improve efficient people-moving and reduce local & regional congestion from car traffic.

        My personal preference as a contrast would have Harper declare a moratorium on all government ministerial travel for photo op announcements, citing reduced government revenues and a new-found respect to future generations. If Obama and Biden want to kill polar bears flying in to Colorado (presumably on separate planes?) to sign a document that a bibycle courier could have delivered from the Capitol to the White House, adore all you like, Aaron.

        • What I meant was that those communities are designed such that public transit is very inefficient, where it exists at all. Bringing in more efficient and effective public transit would basically require rebuilding many of those communities. Suburban/exurban workers should obviously drive cars, especially single-commuter cars, as little as possible. But extending efficient and affordable public transit out to many of those areas is a non-starter. Hence the parking lots. We are trapped in a system of our own design.

        • Jesus, maybe I’m still not being clear. GO Trains only go to the outskirts of the surrounding communities. I’m talking about public transit between GO Train stations and the homes in those communities.

  4. $35,000 per parking spot. Assuming 8% rate of return, infinite lifespan (bad assumption), and 300 days of use per year, it works out to a cost of $9.23 per day. That excludes maintenance and operating costs for this parking facilities. I have my doubts that this is the most economical investment that could have been made. How much does GO charge for parking again? It would take on the order of $15 a day to break even…

  5. Is this meant to be unflattering to Harper or Obama?

    Harper/McGuinty and the $500 million is being spent in a specific way to improve public transport while Obama’s $787 billion spending orgy is a hodge-podge of pork, payback to interest groups and some half-assed package of energy, transportation and health-care projects.

    Watching Congress the past couple of weeks, and the drama of putting together this ‘stimulus’ bill, enhanced my appreciate our Parliament system. It is the largest spending bill in US history, and the Dems held the votes on the bill before any Congress person had the chance to read the final version and know what they were voting for/against. I much prefer our system where a plan can actually be created/implemented and not the free-for-all that occurs in Congress.

    • Parking lots as transit? Gimme a break! Yes, parking is useful, but it is a really poor use of funds given the other funding opportunities on the books.

      • The Liberal premier doesn’t agree with you.

      • “Parking lots as transit?”

        Yes, it will encourage/enable more people in the suburbs to take transit instead of driving their cars. I would encourage more of this kind of spending from the Government, actual improvements to our infrastructure, and less money to failed companies or interest groups or quangos … etc.

        • I see you didn’t bother to quote the part about how this is a poor investment, given the alternatives. I guess you can’t disagree?

    • Hey JWL – have you checked out the 35 million dollars in the american budget for the marsh mouse in the swamp just outside of San Fransisco! ROFL LMAO – if it wasn’t so sad I would even laugh harder can you imagine how many bridges to no where are going to be built … good grief! Hopefully a few of them might use some canadian steel that would be bonus. PS: Our system is light years ahead of their when it comes to how legislation is moved around.

      • I would assume that mouse spending, if true would have been earmarked or whatever by some congressman. Not exactly Obama’s personal idea!

        • The mouse money is coming from that useless fruit fly research that Sarah Palin was railing about this fall.

      • Yes, I saw the mouse spending. For some reason, the one that has stuck in my mind is the $150 million for trail maintenance in National Parks. Seems like a lot of money to improve paths, remove branches or whatever.

        • It probably works out to about a penny per foot of trail.

      • Let’s hope Canada’s stimulus package includes funding for literacy – you’re in dire need of some help on that front.

    • JWL
      We got poitics too! The money SH’s spending in the 905 area is not just because he loves Toronto!

      • I understand Dean Del Mastro read the budget implementation bill between periods of Hockey Night in Canada.

      • He sure fooled you! Harper doesn’t love toronto, just the sphincter that rings it, where his dreamed-for votes are nestled after a 2-hour commute. Let them eat blacktop!

Sign in to comment.