Toronto Board of Trade wants the province to take over all regional transit

Nov 27 2017, 3:06 pm

The Toronto Region Board of Trade is arguing that a single provincial body should plan, construct, and operate transit in Ontario.

According to the Board, transportation management in the GTHA and Waterloo region should be moved from the municipal and regional agencies to the provincial government.

The Board released a detailed strategy on what the model would look like on Monday, dubbing it “Superlinx,” a clear take on Metrolinx. The strategy proposes uploading transit planning, construction, operations and real estate commercialization across the region to a single provincial agency.

They say that having the region’s 11 transit operations would benefit riders, taxpayers and municipalities.

“Municipalities have significant state of good repair backlogs and a long list of unfunded transit priorities,” said Jan De Silva, President & CEO, Toronto Region Board of Trade, in a release. “The Board’s proposal will take the pressure off municipalities while ensuring the Province has the authority to maximize its investments and get transit built.”

The proposal would enhance cross-boundary services, particularly at the Toronto border, create a unified platform, build transit lines and service that’s better and faster, and offer a single integrated fare model for the Toronto-Waterloo Corridor.

In its report, the Board said that with municipalities no longer responsible for rising operating costs and state of good repair, this could result in annual savings of $93.3 million for Toronto (plus release from more than $15 billion in unfunded capital liability), $7.4 million for Hamilton, and $13 million for York Region.

“The existing, fragmented transit development and operating model is not meeting the needs of taxpayers, the business community or transit users,” states the Board. “Critically, it’s also not meeting the needs of the province or municipalities.”

De Silva also added that transit growth is slowing down, when it should be speeding up.

“Toronto is a vibrant, global city-region but our residents struggle to quickly, efficiently and cost effectively get to work each day. Our region’s residents and workforce contribute daily to Canada’s economic centre and they deserve better than sitting in traffic. This plan is how we will get there,” said De Silva.

“We’ve spent 20 years talking about moving money to transit, it’s time we move transit to the money.”

See also