Published on October 8th, 2014 | by Julian Pecchia
[Interview] Brampton Mayoral Candidates Speak Out on Transit Plans
Entering the 2014 municipal election, issues unfolding at Brampton City Hall have been making headlines both inside and outside the city. Transit and transportation expansion and construction have been central issues during the local campaign, along with question over the future of the Main St. Light Rail Transit (LRT) line. Three candidates are considered front-runners – an incumbent seeking re-election, and two strong contenders.
Linda Jeffrey has a long history in Brampton politics, previously sitting on council and most recently spending over ten years as MPP for Brampton-Springdale before announcing her candidacy for Mayor. Her transit and transportation platform is centered on a plan to develop a clear transit strategy and financing plan. It includes all-day two-way GO Transit service and connecting the proposed Hurontario/Main St. LRT to the Züm and existing bus corridors. Ms. Jeffrey’s plan also calls for a cycling strategy and the promotion of healthier lifestyles.
John Sanderson was born and raised in Brampton and helped operate a family business until 2006, when he was elected to local council. Mr. Sanderson supports LRT in Brampton provided it doesn’t alter the character of the heritage downtown area. His plans include all-day two-way GO service, connectivity to the new hospital and other key stops, and a promise to ensure that streets which need widening or repair are completed on time.
CAA reached out to incumbent Mayor Susan Fennell but did not receive a response to our repeated requests.
We spent some one-on-one time with each candidate. Here’s what they told us:
Question 1: If elected Mayor, would you continue support the LRT line in Brampton? If so, how would you manage the partnership with a new, incoming Mayor in Mississauga?
“I would argue that the Mayor and Council actually have not been supportive of Light Rapid Transit. They said yes, then they said no, and then they said maybe. They’re arguing about the route instead of being at the table, arguing to get it. So all transit needs to be something that this council engages on.”
“Light Rapid Transit is something that we should be part of . . . right now as this council has made no decision, it’s going to stop at the borders of Brampton and Mississauga.”
“The route is something we can talk about on a future basis but we need to make sure that all of those transit options come to Brampton.”
Unfortunately when our Mayor had an hour with the Premier this spring, when the Premier asked our Mayor ‘do you want to talk about transit’ our mayor said ‘no’, it wasn’t a priority. I can assure the residents of Brampton that transit is a priority for me.”
“ I think there’s two potentials. And I worked with Steve Mahoney when he was with WSIB because I was Minister of Labour, and we had a good working relationship then. And I know Bonnie Crombie for many years, I think we can absolutely work together.”
“I’m on record as supporting the LRT coming from Mississauga to Brampton, but not through Brampton.”
“My opinion always has been, that it should come . . . if it has to come, then it should come to the Nanwood area and then it should be buried and subway through downtown Brampton. And it should actually come up about Williams Parkway where it’s a lot wider again, and it’s actually designed for the LRT type of a system. And then from there it could go all the way to the northern limits of Brampton.”
“We’ve always been at the wrong end of the stick here when it comes to getting investment from the upper levels of government in our community regarding transit.”
Question 2: Ontario now has a majority government provincially which has pledged $29 billion to municipalities for transit infrastructure projects. How will you ensure Brampton gets its fair share of this funding and what would be your top priority project?
“The province has been very helpful in many conversations we’ve had in the past and most recently – the most recent budget is the HOV lanes on the 410 highway. So anyway we can accelerate that project would be very helpful to Brampton. So I guess that would be my number one project.”
“. . . the fact that I have history with the province of Ontario I think will help us have a more productive positive working relationship.”
“Well first of all we need to have a good rapport with the provincial government. That’s what we need first and foremost. The last number of years Brampton has not had that.”
“So we need to have that relationship, a good relationship. I happen to have a good relationship.”
Question 3: If elected, what revenue tools, if any, would you support to help finance Brampton’s new transit projects?
“I think that we need a joint group effort by the municipalities around the GTHA to talk about what those revenue tools would be.”
“I’m concerned about the finances at the City of Brampton right now so I’m not sure what revenue tools would be at my disposal if I was lucky enough to be elected as mayor . . .”
“I think it’s a little bit early because I don’t know where the finances are at the City of Brampton so I’m not sure what we could commit to but I’m not opposed to looking at all the revenue tools.”
. . . “I think we’re owed …a better transit system from the province.”
“I don’t believe in tolls. I don’t believe that the people of Brampton or the GTA should have to pay what other people didn’t have to pay for.”
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