On September 18th, 2013, the Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, established a “transit investment strategy advisory panel.” Their mandate was to advise the Province on how to respond to the revenue tools proposed by Metrolinx (also an Ontario agency) to fund transit expansion in the region. Well that panel has just released their final report and you can read it here.
I’d like to highlight 3 things from the report.
The first is their assessment of how Canada’s transit policy framework stacks up against our competitors. Here’s a snippet:
“Canada remains the only G8 country without a coordinated national framework of policies and programs for funding expansion and renewal of transit systems. As shown in the chart opposite, a review of national transit policy frameworks done by the Canadian Urban Transit Association indicates that Canada ranks at the bottom in terms of its engagement in urban public transit.”
And here’s the chart they’re talking about. I hope it’s legible.
The second is their conclusion on highway tolls:
“Although highway tolls can raise a significant amount of revenue and influence travel behaviour, they are expensive, complicated, and require a lot of lead time to implement. Once transit alternatives are in place, road tolls meet our criteria and are a valid option. Following the opening of the new Highway 407 East, the Province has the option of designating the new toll revenue to the Next Wave. For now, however, the Panel has not recommended Highway Tolls as a revenue source.”
If you’ve read any of my posts on electronic road pricing, you’ll know that I support the pricing of roads and congestion.
The third is their list of what they call “next wave projects”, which are essentially priority projects. Here’s their list for phase one of it:
- Relief Line
- GO Two-Way All Day (excluding Lakeshore)
- Hurontario LRT
- Electrification of Union-Pearson Express
- Yonge North Subway (partial extension, delivered after Relief Line is in service)
- Priority portions of other rapid transit – Hamilton, Durham, Dundas, Brampton
I’m happy to see the relief subway line on the top of that list.
If you have any thoughts on transit planning in the Greater Toronto Area, I would love to hear from you in the comment section below.