Commuter rail has worked in cities of our size. Kitchener, Ontario (Pop: 523,000) is reaping hundreds of millions in economic benefits from their system. Oh, and also, Halifax used to have light rail up until the 1970s.
Unlike most cities, Halifax already has much of the infrastructure needed for LRT. Add in the fact that we have a growing population and a well-used transit system as it is, and the idea of LRT in Halifax becomes more convincing.
LRT would create thousands of jobs. LRT stations would become hubs for business and development, and create a positive economic feedback loop. A LRT system would also say to the rest of Canada that Halifax aspires to be more than a costal outpost. We would like to be a serious player on the Canadian scene.
Anyone who complains about “sprawl” should be outraged at council’s lack of forward thinking on this topic. If current growth continues, Halifax’s population could be close to 600,000 in 20 years, making the process of building out an LRT system much more expensive. Building a system now would be cheaper and easier from an urban planning aspect.
The issue of LRT in Halifax will not go away because of council’s recent short-sightedness. It will be back, in some form, in very short order.