The Auto Bailout vs. Our Mass Transit/Bicycle Future

I posted this as a question the other day:

Could we fully fund the TTC’s transit plans if we peeled off some that GM bailout money and gave it to the TTC?

The more I think about it, the more I think this is what we should be doing. We are throwing money at GM and Chrysler (and this is nothing new, since we did give Toyota incentives to build another plant here a few years ago) when their products may be on the way out. The culprit here is oil since, even if we haven’t reached the end of oil, we may very well be reaching the end of cheap oil. As one commenter on CBC radio told Andy Barrie this morning, we may not be at peak oil yet, but we may be at peak car.

Given that there is a long history of governments providing the initial investment to promote various industries I would rather that the money that we are tossing at GM and Chrysler be redirected to cities for transit infrastructure and to mass transit manufacturers such as Bombardier and Orion for R&D as well as expansion – this is capacity we can use in the future. We can even stipulate that transit companies hire laid-off autoworkers, though I suspect that the skill sets are related enough that this sort of thing may happen by itself.

Obviously this is just a sketch of an idea, but I really think that this is what we are giving up by throwing our good, hard-earned money at failing companies in a dying industry.

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3 responses to “The Auto Bailout vs. Our Mass Transit/Bicycle Future

  1. And high speed rail lines should be funded too. You should read the article from last months Walrus. It’s amazing to see that time and again the governments of provinces and the feds have commissioned reports on the viability of high speed rail through certain corridors in Canada. And every time, they come back saying that we have the population to support them AND make them profitable. The Montreal to Windsor corridor and Calgary to Edmonton should be the first. Put pressure on your MP’s and MPP’s. It uses a fraction of the energy of flight or driving and it works all over the world.

  2. Plus, in many cases it’s actually faster than flight.

  3. I don’t doubt it – unfortunately MPs of all stripes have decided to stare at their feet and not really talk about the huge auto bailout.

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