Go the the Polls This Fall--Have Your Say About BRT!!!

Go the The Polls This Fall Londoners--Have Your Say About BRT!!
London City Council has confirmed they are willing to gamble unknown tax increases to all Londoners to support Bus Rapid Transit.
Following months and months of misleading taxpayers
that
property taxes would not increase to pay for BRT
,​
 Council
​​
on
Monday evening passed a motion to move into the final phase of and Environmental Assessment
with it
not supported by a clear financial plan.
​ ​
Th
e financial plan from City staff will not come for months.
It's like buying a house without knowing the price or the monthly mortgage payment and how much it will cost to operate that property. It's appears it is easy to spend other peoples money.
​ ​
The phrase "rolling dice" comes to mind.
Keep in mind other potential cost overruns
​,​
operating deficits and expropriation costs will also land squarely on your tax bill.
Council believes bold actions will trump business sense when Londoners go to the election booths. They are simply ignoring several polls that clearly demonstrate the vast majority of respondents want a new plan!
The ​provincial election in June demonstrates another financial wildcard for Londoners in the BRT saga. Despite political theater from the current government that announced its so called funding share, the truth is they have not finished reviewing the project and no funds have been sent to London. In fact, all major capital projects will be reviewed by two of the three party's seeking your vote, the federal government has not even seen the London project and has told London to slow down and get it right. Misleading comments from certain city councillors about the federal funds already being sent are just that, a fabrication meant to confuse taxpayers.
With final stage of environmental assessment taking 185 mandatory days this becomes the number one election issue for the October civic election. You can have your say, Londoners have a choice! Take the time, research candidates who want to improve transportation
and
not simply fall into line behind an expensive unrealistic waste of tax dollars.
Find candidates who want a better plan, find candidates who understand just how much a revamped public transportation
​should make sense and service all Londoners around the entire city.
Londoners wanted this issue added to the ballot for October. You now have that
​.
Use it!
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STOP THE BUS

STOP THE BUS!

There’s more evidence the City of London has been misleading taxpayers about the real costs of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).

CTV London broadcast a detailed story on the six o'clock news Friday showing a City of London report that confirms that City Staff are looking at additional funding from other sources to cover the City’s $130 million portion to build BRT. New uncertainties of the BRT plan are making some councilors think twice about the project .

That means your taxes will increase because the City will run out and start borrowing money. Somebody has to pay (with interest) and that someone is you!  The news story included a City Staff member from the Finance Department who admitted more funding sources are being investigated.

This counters BRT / SHIFT communications that stated repeatedly that Development charges would more than cover the costs of London's share.

Over a year ago DownShift predicted that the City of London’s share would not be sustainable.  Forcefully and repeatedly, DownShift was rebuffed by Consultants, City Staff, Councillors and Mayor Brown. The holes in the City of London's case just keep getting bigger and bigger.

What is your Council member now saying, are they seeking re-election?

This project should be put on hold NOW!  On Tuesday, May 8th City Council votes on moving ahead with the next phase of an Environmental Assessment.  Let’s not waste more tax dollars on City Staff and Consultants for a flawed report.

Call, text and email your Council Member and ask them to shut this down on Tuesday and wait for a new Council that may have the ability to ask the tough questions that are not based on political gamesmanship.

Honesty, openness & integrity was the mantra from this Council during the last election. BRT demonstrates words need to be backed by people who care.  

The councillor list is here - please act now and communicate by Monday morning.

https://www.london.ca/city-hall/city-council/pages/default.aspx

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CTV News - Western University board member suggests delaying BRT negotiations - exclusive story.

A Western University board member suggests delaying BRT negotiations with the city until after the election. has this exclusive story.

https://london.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1381051

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Our BRT Fight Continues

OUR BRT FIGHT CONTINUES

On Monday night London City Council delayed a decision to move forward with the final phase of an environmental assessment for the bus rapid transit plan (BRT) until a meeting on May 7th. Why?

The official excuse is to give Londoners more time to read the thousands of pages of highly technical data that was dumped on the public last week with little or no explanation.

The report that was supposed to be tabled and sent to Queens Park in March, has hit yet another major roadblock based on poor communication with taxpayers. Some Council members, many of whom will be seeking re-election this fall, admit behind the scenes they are concerned about crushing public criticism of yet another communication failure with potential repercussions at the ballot box.

BRT is now a major election issue because the mandatory 185 days for this next phase of the provincial environmental assessment and it lands squarely in the laps of all candidates. If you are not in favour of the current BRT plan, it is up to us to identify candidates who do not support the current plan and also propose a transit system that works for all of us. Call, email or text Council members, and ask if they really understand what they are doing and why aren’t they listening to voters.

Why is staff and council continuing to force through yet another phase of BRT while excluding the public from information for a year, then printing thousands and thousands of pages, written in technical jargon that is difficult to decipher for a layman?

Another cold hard fact is no deal exists with Western University and that means no formal plans are in place for BRT on campus and the surrounding area.

The announcement of provincial funding was political theatre. The provincial environmental assessment, which is required by law, has not even started at Queen’s Park and is now being delayed even longer by this nervous city council.
Politicians cannot simply hand out money without following the LAW. The federal government has told London to slow down and get it right and even with federal money on the table for London it is not earmarked for this current BRT plan.

A two week review will not change the fact the plan is hugely flawed, ridiculously expensive, is old technology, eliminates bike lanes, ruins neighbourhoods, cuts down hundreds of trees and will lead to untold tax increases, land expropriation costs and legal costs in the millions of tax dollars and serves very few Londoners.

Tell your councillor to say no to the current BRT plan and you will see them at the ballot box this fall. We deserve a better plan for all Londoners. Please share this email with friends and ask them to join our mailing list at downshiftlondon.com

List of all London City Councillors and their contact information
https://www.london.ca/city-hall/city-council/pages/default.aspx

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CTV News - Opposition Parties say they would open up provincial funding for BRT to alternative plans

April 11, 2018

CTV News - Opposition Parties say they would open up provincial funding for BRT to alternative plans

https://london.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1367921

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London's BRT Team Misses Critical Deadline.... this Council Now Out of the Decision Making Loop

March 27, 2018

London's BRT Team Misses Critical Deadline.... this Council Now Out of the Decision Making Loop

CTV London reports - https://london.ctvnews.ca/video?binId=1.1807099   -  story begins at 3:09

That's right... the multi-million dollar team of consultants, Shift London and city staff putting together a critical report about the environmental impact of the project will miss the April 10, 2018 deadline for a detailed recommendation going to Council.

This may sound insignificant.....it is NOT insignificant. The present council is now effectively out of the decision making loop and will NOT make the final call on BRT!

Here’s the explanation:

The City of London and its consultants have been working on the provincially required environmental report for London’s proposed BRT plan. Provincial law mandates this report be submitted before any funding for the project can be considered. When the environmental report is approved at city hall it then goes to the province for a mandatory 180-day plus review. If and only if it passes that juncture, it then proceeds to an extensive review in Ottawa. The federal government has already promised a meticulous review that will also take time and will likely take the project to 2019 before the paper shuffle really begins.

But what about that money the provincial politicians promised? The harsh reality is that without a completed and approved environmental assessment, no one is cutting a cheque to London. This is all good theatre but not based on the reality of following provincial law. The premier and cabinet ministers can't override legal requirements by calling a news conference to state provincial funds are on the way.

By missing this April 10 deadline and in the midst of a civic election campaign, citizens now have an election issue. Londoners who question the viability of BRT can ask candidates if they want this plan or to develop something that works.

Council members seeking re-election will face tough questions. To date, many councillors have been avoiding questions about expropriation and real construction costs. Most members of council have ignored and avoided so called consultation meetings that in fact were one-sided lectures.

Londoners deserve improved public transit. Even the federal government committed just over $200-million for improved transit but not necessarily the Shift London BRT.

What to do? Become a municipal candidate; ask all candidates where they stand on London’s BRT.

This is now in Londoners hands, make good use of this time to protect an increase in taxes and assist in the development of a good transit system built on the needs of users, not politicians looking for photo opportunities.

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London Free Press - London Needs Time to Get Shift Rolling Right

http://lfpress.com/opinion/columnists/martin-london-needs-time-to-get-shift-rolling-right

Could there be a worse time or way for city council to give an important green light to Shift, the city’s controversial plan for bus rapid transit?

On April 10, council is expected to approve the recommended design and trigger the final step toward a $500-million transit scheme that is touted as improving travel time for Londoners by as much as five minutes.

This biggest-ever spend in city history is being backed just as it is becoming clear that the use of public transit is waning. The number of trips taken on public transit buses in the United States has decreased by 15 per cent since 2012. This disturbing trend was shared this week with North London residents worried the plan would gut the Richmond Street corridor north of Oxford Street.

Rocky Moretti, a transportation consultant based in Washington, D.C., said the use of transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft has skyrocketed by 4,200 per cent during the same time.

“We need to enhance mobility for all Londoners,” Moretti, a North London resident, told an audience of about 120 gathered this week for a ward meeting by Coun. Phil Squire. “We need to anticipate changes in technology.”

The Shift plan fails to anticipate the changes in technology such as electric vehicles, automated vehicles and ride-sharing services, all of which will dramatically change the transportation landscape, he said.

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Federal Funding Statement

March 22, 2018
Downshift London Statement
Londoners were put through a misleading exercise by Mayor Matt Brown this week. During a radio interview, Brown told the host the BRT (bus rapid transit) project was fully funded and ready to go. His misguided, erroneous statement was  spawned by a Federal government announcement that London had been earmarked for $204-million in transportation funding. The funding, in reality, is not specifically for London’s proposed BRT plan.
The Mayor plowed through the reality of the announcement by Member of Parliament, Peter Fragiskatos who repeatedly told all who would listen that these funds
were not specifically earmarked for BRT. The Member of Parliament has put great effort (another interview this morning) into explaining in detail the many hoops London’s BRT proposal will have to go through before it is even considered in Ottawa. In fact, despite a political announcement from the Provincial government, the province has still not officially granted London one penny. The BRT plan has not passed the Environmental Assessment required by law and that process will not be completed until October 2018.
The strength and integrity of the Member of Parliament, London North shows the reasonable level-headed leadership Londoners should expect from all elected officials.
The City of London has been continuously criticized for poor communication regarding the BRT plan with London taxpayers for over a year. 
 
Taxpayers should not be put through this calculated nonsense. BRT is clearly becoming the number one issue in the 2018 fall London municipal election.
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Downshift London - Statement March 16 re: Funding

March 16, 2018
Downshift Statement

London Gets Its Share
 
Good news on Friday, March 16, the Federal Government announced transportation allocations for Ontario. London's share is $204-million and the best news, it is not allocated for the flawed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) plan being fronted by City Hall.

Peter Fragiskatos, Member of Parliament, London North Centre, made it clear, very clear these funds will not be distributed without fully vetted business plans and hefty due diligence in Ottawa. This process takes time, lots of time, so there is little to no chance BRT will be reviewed in Ottawa before the provincial and municipal elections.

Without getting into the weeds on details, the province has not completed its environmental assessment, so the earlier "announcement" about provincial funding is raw politics that is not supported by provincial environmental laws.

London can still present an alternative to BRT that makes sense and provides real service across the entire city, for everyone and all modes of transportation. This is far from over.

To do:
1. Citizens of London, keep the pressure on London council members, keep the pressure on provincial candidates and members. Write, call and email elected representatives who represent you.

2. Sign up to receive news and information from Downshift London through the new NationBuilder site at https://downshiftlondon.nationbuilder.com. We've outgrown the Change.org site.
 
London City Councillors and contact information
https://www.london.ca/city-hall/city-council/pages/default.aspx

Mayor's Office
Office of the Mayor Phone: 519-661-4920  E-mail: mayor@london.ca
c/o London City Hall
Suite 214 - 300 Dufferin Avenue
London ON   N6B 1Z2

London North Centre : Deborah Matthews

dmatthew.mpp@liberal.ola.org, 519-432-7339

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CTV News - BRT Document Dump 5 Days Prior to Vote

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