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This letter is being written with concern regarding the recent news story: Charlottetown applies for federal funding to invest in electric buses. There are a number of questions that require consideration and answers.
How does a private business owner seek to acquire $20.5 million of taxpayer dollars without having to put up one cent of their own money? That is the number one question.
We are told that this money is for new transit buses and shelters. We already have shelters. What happens to the old buses, which are being retired and replaced, and for which taxpayers already paid? Are these sold? Who reaps the revenue of their sale? What is the amount of revenue generated from the operation of the system? Who reaps the benefit of this revenue and the advertising revenue associated with it? Why has this service not been tendered or at least the purchase of new buses put to tender? What happens if the company that acquires ownership of the buses is sold? Will that impact on taxpayers? Will taxpayers get their money back?
I would comment further that there appears to be a lack of transparency in all of this. Taxpayers do have a right to know why they are paying for buses, and then again, to use the system. People with mobility issues have difficulty using the present system. Are the new buses going to be better equipped to deal with that situation? Perhaps consideration should be given to fixing accessibility first. Or, is this a case of the rich getting richer on the backs of taxpayers once again?