Consequences of cutting up BRT plan now coming to light

News source from CTV News

The consequences of council’s decision to dissect the Shift Bus Rapid Transit plan are just being revealed.

Late Friday afternoon city hall released the financial details for some of the projects being advanced for senior government funding.

And with the submission of London’s pared down Bus Rapid Transit plan, city staff say they’re the first in the province to submit business cases for funding.

Doug MacRae, director of roads and transportation, says five of the 10 projects have been submitted so far, “The submission process is open for eight weeks. So now that we got the first half in, we are working hard to get them submitted too.”

Last week, council supported just three of the five BRT segments for submission, seeking hundreds of millions in senior government funding.

But the new individual business cases shed light on the anticipated benefits from each segment.

The original five-segment Shift BRT plan had a total benefit-cost ratio of 1.18 – so for every dollar spent, London would reap $1.18 in benefits.

Newly released figures in the submitted business cases show the downtown loop returns $1.60 in benefit for every dollar invested.

The benefit-cost ratio for the east route drops to the break-even point – just $1.02.

However, the south route returns fewer benefits than costs, just 94 cents for every dollar spent.

MacRae says those figures should not raise alarm bells about the funding applications.

“They are well with the range for these kind of transit projects that have been proceeding across the province for the last several years.”

He adds that the benefit-cost ratio doesn’t capture every benefit, “It doesn’t recognize things like GDP uplift, transit-oriented development, [and] land value uplift.”

The province will review the new individual business cases and then submit prioritized projects to the federal government funding consideration.



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