The Third Crossing and The Cost
Every Kingston resident will share the costs for the construction and operation of a third crossing. Whether you own or rent, you pay property taxes.
Kingston Council will soon face a key decision to take the next major step towards implementing this project.
To date the City has spent approximately $8 million tax dollars on consulting fees and studies to bring the project to its current state. The details in these studies that point to the futility of the project have been overlooked or ignored.
The city has said that it will finance the project this way: 25% from development charges (money collected from new developments), 25% from taxpayers, and 50% from grants from the provincial and federal governments.
Four big and expensive problems with this plan:
- The provincial government is unlikely to spend money on new infrastructure when it is short of money and facing a crisis with the decay of existing infrastructure.
- The federal government has said that its infrastructure money is to help municipalities fix existing roads and bridges. Federal money is unlikely to be available for a new bridge in Kingston AND may require the city to take over the federally-owned and operated Lasalle Causeway as a condition of any grant for a new bridge. The Causeway is 100 years old, likely to require expensive repairs soon, and costs over $1 million a year to operate. This would add to the financial burden on taxpayers.
- With the City paying 50% (a blend of taxes and development charges) of the cost of building the bridge, at the current cost projection of $120,000,000 for the bridge, that is $60,000,000. And who is going to pay for the other $380,000,000 of road improvements that have been identified as necessary to integrate a third crossing into the road system?
- The annual operating costs of the bridge would be another burden on taxpayers – regular maintenance, salt and sand during the winter months, pothole fixing, etc. – it all adds up and ultimately comes out of the pockets of Kingston taxpayers.
Now is the time to evaluate, honestly and openly, all aspects of the building and operating a new bridge. We think it will be a financial disaster for city taxpayers. We believe we all have a right to full information before Council makes the decision to commit the city to the project.
Clearly, a third crossing will take up revenue that might better be spent on projects that will improve the quality of life in Kingston.
What is a Third Crossing worth to you?