After many, many nights of debating and philosophizing with my friends, we sort of agreed that a good way for a municipality to tax people and spend money on infrastructure, would be to do it on somewhat of a volunteer basis. Think of it as a referendum with money being your vote. If enough people put their money behind a project, it goes ahead. If not, people who contributed are refunded their money, and the project is scrapped.
Say the city would like to build a new LRT leg. With this system, it would basically be a matter of citizens choosing whether or not to pledge money toward it. In doing so, people who don't care and don't want it aren't paying for it, while the people who do care and do want it are paying for it. If enough people want it, it happens. If not enough people want it, it doesn't happen.
So, whether or not you think the idea is stupid, I want to test it among more than 4 people in a dark basement at 1 in the morning
Let's just assign an arbitrary amount of 100 dollars per project. I have no idea if that's realistic or not, but I have to start somewhere. It seems like an amount of money that people wouldn't just arbitrarily throw around. I'd hope that, in general, if people are going to put 100 dollars towards something, they actually really want it.
List any or all of the municipal projects you would be willing to contribute 100 dollars to. LRT, convention centre, stadium, bridges, overpasses... whatever. If you'd be willing to contribute more than 100 dollars to certain projects, make note of that. Remember: This is YOUR money!
What I really want to see here is just how much people actually care... if the Peace Bridge (random example) is something they'd be willing to directly contribute a non-trivial amount of money to. The main point of contention among my friends and I, is basically if people would actually spend their money on anything, if they were actually given the choice. Or, if all these nice infrastructure projects going on in the city aren't worth 10 bucks to the people who claim to want them. I've been arguing the more optimistic viewpoint, but it would be cool to be able to back that up.
I'll start. I would write 100 dollar cheques to help make each of these projects happen:
- Full LRT grade separation. I think, while costly, this would help the city immensely. It would make the train significantly more efficient and it would take stress off traffic downtown.
- North LRT.
- South East LRT.
- A new stadium. I don't give two shits about hockey, but I'm sick of great concerts bypassing the city because the Saddle Dome doesn't cut it.
- A new or expanded convention centre.
- An upgrade to Crowchild Trail from 24 ave to Memorial Drive. Overpasses or something where there are traffic lights, fewer disappearing lanes.
- An overpass at the John Laurie and Shaganappi intersection.
So, that's 700 bucks from me.
Your turn! Dream! Spend your money on stuff you want!