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Notes on seven speeches against the third crossing

By: James Jeff McLaren
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The notes for 7 speeches on why I voted against the third crossing

Seven Speeches


The end of the greatest force for economic growth: the mature 1st world market expansion into the 2nd world opened up more than double the territory and number of consumers available for our export industries: Eastern Europe, the former USSR, China, India and all their client states in south-east Asia and Africa. Today it is only N. Korea and Myanmar that need to open up.

This hurts Kingston by:

a. Reducing future growth possibilities

b. Making export oriented jobs harder to come by

c. Making city expansion more dubious in its ROI

d. The virtues of a market expansion become vices in a saturated market

       1. innovation becomes harmful: MPS, substitute goods, automation

       2. nasty management and cost cutting – unsustainable – especially job cuts

       3. less value to consumers

This hurts the people of Kingston by:

a. Reducing the rate asset appreciation – possibly reversing it. force to lower house prices

b. Making jobs harder to find and more precarious

c. Will still need to fund under preforming infrastructure

d. There will be reduced spending due to

       1. the squeezing of the prisoner’s dilemma

       2. Consumer sentiment

The third X aggravates these by:

a. Making us as a city cash poor and less financially flexible – like buying a house you cant afford

b. Exporting jobs: 3X maintenance is not a local expertise - compare to other projects

c. Adding to the costs of the city

d. Delaying or canceling much needed other better projects (canceling: we will be in worse times)

The future will be very different form the past. If you came of age or spent the majority of your career in the last 29 years then you must understand that we have lived through the greatest economic expansion in history. And it is ending

a. Stock market growth as evidence: DJ: 2000 in ‘80s to today 21000; S&P500: 300 to 2400

b. Technology growth as evidence: carburetors and power windows; rotary phones to smart

phones; typewriters to tablet PC; D&D to WoW; cathode ray tubes to flat screen TV; 3 Channels to YouTube;

Technology is changing everything – as we will see this is not good for bridge advocates.


Start of baby boom retirement and passing away: great force for economic de-development: secular stagnation: a period of negligible or no economic growth in a market economy. The term was coined in the 1930 to describe the prolonged great depression. The new downward force is 7.2% over 10 years.

This hurts Kingston by:

a. Reduced aggregate disposable income

b. Reduced business spending and general reduced demand

c. Reduced ability to pay for assets – devaluation of house values - reduced asset growth

d. Reduced tax base

This hurts the people of Kingston by:

a. Devaluing of their housing and other assets – need higher taxes to maintain current services levels

b. Harder for businesses to survive

c. Harder to find a job

The third crossing aggravates these by:

a. Increasing taxes

b. Less desirable to move here for business and people – when property taxes are compared

c. More taxes collected to pay for bridge mean Less money to spend on local business needs


Massive world changes since 1960: 2 perhaps 3 new industrial revolutions; bridge is wrong way to invest public funds for the best ROI and benefit to community

This hurts Kinston by:

a. investing in a bridge is like investing in typewriters instead of tablet computers

b. not a city wide investment

c. ownership of a bridge is overrated

d. hurts our ability to be a smart city

This hurts the people of Kingston by:

a. huge lost other potential benefits

b. neglect of other parts of the City of Kingston – bumpy roads and congestion everywhere

c. neglect of other more in need groups: the poorly housed, the precariously employed; environmental pollution

d. ownership draws funds that are better used elsewhere – pot hole repair, garbage pickup, recycling, and snow removal services

Smart traffic grid is a better option: non-linear scalability; and near 0 marginal cost to scalability

a. city wide – can solve the congestion problem

b. smart – forward looking

c. local – better for economic development

d. we have already started with baby steps:

       1. cameras on some intersections to help with a limited optimization of traffic lights

       2. Broad band wi-fi – which will be needed for the interconnectivity

       3. 1000 km of Fiber optic cable in our city

This is a smart solution. It takes advantage of the two industrial revolutions we have experience since the notion of a bridge was first proposed. We could invest in typewriters, they could improve productivity over handwriting but why not take advantage of computers and the internet revolutions and invest in tablet PC? That is the smart solution.


The long term costs of the 3X are greater than we have imagined

This hurts Kingston:

a. more money leaves the local economy; instead of circulating in the city

b. delays all other capital projects

       1. Prioritization and deferral of projects

       2. Debt issuance

       3. Grants

       4. Maintenance $ with asset management strategies

       5. 1% Capital tax levy

c. forces the 1% yearly tax levy to continue longer: 5 years longer= 15% = $30 M *****[ppt 03]*****

d. DC can’t be used on other projects meaning they may be funded disproportionately by tax $

e. Longer term tax levy moves Kingston even higher on the tax scale compared to other cities

f. Maintenance will be buyer’s remorse *****

This hurts the people of Kingston by

a. Impoverishing the aggregate disposable income fund that powers business and consumer demand

b. Important and valuable projects are delayed

c. Adding an unnecessary 15% to their taxes forever – we will pay forever – politicians don’t lower property taxes – we do not give negative tax rates

d. Without proper DC funds for other projects, tax dollars will make up the short fall

e. People who wish to sell their homes will find less demand therefore lower ROI


In the last 25 years the economy has gone digital: The source of value has again changed. More value creation is immaterial and intangible- this is the knowledge economy: For example: IP, Data, brand. Google bought Motorola for $12.5B and flipped it for $2.91B after separating the IP.

a. Pre industrial sources of value were in food and agricultural production

b. Industrial sources of value were in material manufacturing

c. In the information age value creation is in data and information technology– google, Facebook, snapchat, Samsung, Foxconn, amazon, Microsoft, Alibaba, eBay, Netflix, Apple, etc.

d. The industries are: e-commerce; search; social media; cloud computing; AI

e. Focusing resources on strengthening the Old Economy infrastructure has low or negative ROI

f. Setting up the smart infrastructure is better: we have done baby steps with:

       1. Broadband wi-fi for all

       2. Cameras to monitor traffic and adjust traffic lights

       3. 1000 km of Fiber optic cable

g. Setting up infrastructure for the new economy will lead to more potential and greater ROI for Kingston

h. Investing in bridge infrastructure in the hopes of economic development in this age is like Sisyphus rolling a large bolder up a mountain only to have it roll down again – wasted effort. Searching for the best bang for the buck in a world of secular stagnation and diminishing aggregate disposable income is key to prosperity or at least cushioning coming economic and technical shocks to our economy: at best the bridge is very low bang for buck; most likely its a loss; the smart grid is excellent ROI


On the need for a third crossing the question that was asked was: “is there a need for additional traffic capacity across the Cataraqui River?”

It is grammatically problematic and it’s context is severely dated.

1. Is there a need for [x] where x is any good – yes always

2. Capacity is not the concern of 100s of people – it’s is congestion

3. Part of council’s job is to decide if this need is somehow more important than other needs

4. What is also important is what was not asked: which other goods were not asked? List

       a. Is there a need to

              i. Stop polluting

              ii. Reduce traffic fatalities (morbidity and mortality)

1. Tradeoff between competing deadly problems: how do we chose which lives to consider:

       a. actual/potential; numbers; life left; personal/stranger

       iii. Traffic deaths from more users induced demand vs health

       iv. Reduce deaths from radon caused cancer: 847:Ontario; 7:Kingston/ year

       v. Help the more vulnerable people in our society

       vi. Expand the meals on wheels program

       vii. Improve food security

       viii. Improve public health – budget frozen – $60M would save and prolong lives

       ix. Portable rent supplements

       x. Build more affordable housing

       xi. Improving transit

       xii. Fixing the bumpy roads

       xiii. Getting more people off the roads – Stats Can says we are emitting the highest per capita greenhouse gasses from private vehicles 2007

       xiv. Is there a need to get people across the cause way more efficiently?!! – smart ?

b. There is a moral and ethical choice to be made here and we are talking about ranking some basic human needs lower than some select groups’ conveniences; some lives more than others

5. The original answer is a supply side solution: more roads: this is dated

       a. We have had two industrial revolutions since the 3X was first proposed

              i. Investing in pre-computer and pre-internet age solutions is like investing in typewriters rather than tablet PC; rotary phones rather than smart phones; cathode ray tubes rather than smart screens – why would you do that?

       b. Have we considered:

              i. An integrated smart traffic grid

              ii. Possibilities of driverless cars – evolving issue that needs continuous revisiting

              iii. the Internet of Things and interconnected driverless cars

              iv. learning machines, AI, and adaptive algorithms

       c. these possible solutions have advantages in

              i. marginal costs,

              ii. flexibility and

              iii. scalability

              iv. Safety – no human error

       d. I have not yet been given a reason to look backwards instead of forwards.

       e. Will the 3X end congestion? Will it end it on the causeway? NO! the biggest concern raised by residents that I heard was the time delays from congestion. – why spend $180 Million on a non-solution to people’s greatest complaint? A fully developed smart grid will solve the congestion problem.

       f. We need to prepare the way for the future; not obstruct and hobble our ability to spend by spending profligately and wastefully on non-solutions


More people may support it but they do not once they understand a little more. Take the points from the form letter we have been getting:

1. “It’s time for a city owned crossing so that we are no longer at the mercy of other levels of government.”

2. Growth of the east side – is done

3. The time and km savings of the form letter chart

       a. Need ppt better data from no3X ? ask for **** [01].ppt

4. Connecting is a top priority? – above poverty, pollution, economic development, safety?

5. Need alternatives – compare population and bridge-lanes across major cities big and small; in Canada and internationally -> ask for *****[02].ppt

Added on: Jun 14, 2017
By: James Jeff McLaren
© 2008 - 2018, James Jeff McLaren