Friday, February 08, 2008

Misleading Data?

GTA residents pay an average of only 5% of their property taxes to run local transit systems, the Sustainable Urban Development Association (SUDA) has found.

Halton is the worst of the Regions at 2.1% and Burlington is worse than that at 2.06. Oakville taxpayers pay 38% more of their property tax dollars to transit.

But you can do anything with statistics. Everyone knows that.

This is a classic example. I'm pretty certain.

How come, you say?

Well because Burlington is committed to transit. It says so right there in their Strategic Plan.

One of the leading causes of smog and pollution is vehicle exhaust with single occupant vehicles being a major contributor. Burlington will provide transit services that offer a transportation alternative to single occupancy vehicles and that integrate with other transit services throughout the region.

And there is more:

Burlington will be a clean, green and environmentally healthy city where the city actively participates and encourages environmentally responsible programs, policies and actions that work to improve and restore our natural environment

So these statistics are misleading although I worry (it is my nature) because Burlington’s air quality is pretty bad. Recently I read we had the worst day in the province in 2006. But this is proably just another case of manipulating data.

Our Medical Officer of Health, Bob Nosal, reports that we have approximately 190 premature deaths in Halton each year because of poor air quality.

He also says that an important strategy in dealing with air pollution includes smarter planning of communities and a greater dependency on transit. We all know that, right?

In the meantime I’m sure someone can explain the fact that Ajax spends 3.4% of their property tax dollars on transit. They are probably neglecting their downtown.

And Markham at 5.38%. Well, that only makes sense because they have some many more transit riders than we do.

Lies, damned lies, and statistics. Disraeli knew what he was talking about.


pedalpower said...

It's sad that Burlington pays lip service to promoting transit, while spending less on transit than other GTA municipalities.

I'll bet that Burlington spends much more on roads and parking. Council is still living in the 50's.

bob wood said...

Lip service indeed.

Council obsesses over empty buses. If there are seats not occupied on a busthen people will complain.

Councillors need to step up and support transit. It is imperative.