Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday February 25, 2016
The rising price of driving
Gas prices in Ontario will rise about 4.3 cents a litre and residential natural gas bills will go up about $5 a month under the Liberal government’s cap-and-trade plan.
Premier Kathleen Wynne said she expects the program won’t increase electricity costs for the industrial and commercial sectors. She revealed economic impacts Wednesday, a day before her government introduces its budget, which is expected to include more details about carbon pricing.
“The cost of doing nothing is much, much higher than the cost of going forward and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” she said. (Source: CP)
Meanwhile, Hamilton is in the midst of a $10-million-plus installation of cameras on the Red Hill Valley Parkway and at hundreds of major city street intersections in order to allow better signal and traffic control in emergencies.
But it turns out those cameras can track speeding cars, too.
Not enough to send you a ticket — the city deliberately chose an image resolution for the cameras that is supposed to be too low to allow eyeballing of your face, licence plate or curtainless bedroom window.
But the cameras are capable of tracking vehicle speed and speeding trends over time, said councillor and police board chair Lloyd Ferguson — and that could help police “focus enforcement where and when it’s needed.”
City council formally asked the province to allow photo radar on the Red Hill and Linc late last year after a consultant suggested a troubling spike in parkway collisions was due in part to chronic speeding. Toronto has made a similar request to use the contentious technology to save on policing costs. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)
Meanwhile, Hamilton Councillors voted to hike the cost of a monthly city parking lot pass by $10 this year, but put off any debate on meter rates until next year.
Temporary exemptions are also in the works for municipal lots in Dundas and on Concession Street, with the possibility of adding Ottawa Street and Kenilworth Avenue at a budget meeting Friday.
In theory, the rate bump should provide the city with an extra $238,000 in revenue — although senior director of bylaw and parking Marty Hazell noted the city will pay about $61,000 of that total for its own employees to park.
Downtown Coun. Jason Farr applauded the lot rate hike as a good first step, but added he’s still interested in a “robust discussion” on the city’s $1 meter rates.
“It’s the cheapest deal in Ontario,” he said. “I think we need to address that if we’re truly trying to encourage more people to get out of their cars and onto the bus.” (Source: Hamilton Spectator)