The issue I wish to discuss is public transportation and if the government, both provincial and federal, should be increasing the amount of spending in this area. I will be focusing on larger cities where public transportation is more widely used.
The main argument for public transportation is that it allows for the mass transit of individuals that would then not be using other modes of transportation such as gasoline powered cars, bicycles, walking and so forth. Without looking into specific studies, it should be common sense that the more humans riding public transit such as trains and buses, the fewer the number of other vehicles out on the roads. This means less harmful emissions, less congestion and more money that is kept in your pocket.
A monthly bus pass in large cities in Canada seem to cost around $100, significantly less money than it would take to gas up, maintain and park a car in a crowded urban environment. However, the trade off is time and convenience. Buses and trains are on specific schedules, stopping at specific places on specific days, which may change depending on if it is a holiday or if a major event is going on such as a hockey game or a concert. For many this is inconvenient and you would need to actively plan your day around them; it is a headache but not something completely outlandish.
For those who have never owned a car, this is just a fact of life and they just accept that this is the way that it is. For those who own a car and may be forced to use public transit due to a collision or loss of a job, the loss of that freedom to go wherever, whenever they want is astounding. Those with the luxury of having a steady job and sustainable lifestyle will likely not hesitate to spend the extra bit of money to own a car rather than ride public transit. For many humans, this is just not possible.
Therefore, I believe that the government should increase spending on public transportation to aid those who are less fortunate and may not be able to spend the money on a vehicle but still need to keep to a busy schedule. I do not believe that this will have much of an impact on current vehicle owners, other than having to be taxed slightly more. It is also possible that changing public transit significantly enough will actually draw in regular car owners, even if it is only for five days a week going to and from work.
One of the biggest examples for how properly fantastic public transport can be is Europe, in general, and Japan. Bullet trains, ferries, buses along with great energy efficiency and scheduling make these places some of the best in the world to live without a personal vehicle. The scheduling in Japan is so precise that two seconds off course for the bullet train makes international headlines.
The environmental impact of more energy efficient, electric or hybrid public transit alone should give the government enough reason to seriously consider the increased spending, at the very least in large metropolitan areas.