Editorial Archive

TTC adds its support for a national transit strategy

6/7/13 6:00 AM

At a recent event at The Canadian Club of Toronto, I was asked for my views about how to pay for large-scale transit improvement and expansion.

Noting that much can be achieved by better management within existing budgets, I said that, to a large extent, I am agnostic about how expansion is funded, but that I am clear that sustainable, long-term funding needs to be found if we are to keep up with ever-rising passenger numbers. Such funds would need to carry a guarantee that they would only be used for specified transit projects.

As has been previously noted, the TTC is experiencing exponential rises in ridership as our city expands, and we must find a way to fund increased service, additional vehicles and infrastructure. While it is great to see the sea of cranes as new condo buildings go up, I am increasingly concerned about our ability to keep up with demand if we don’t have the funding to achieve this.

This challenge is not unique to Toronto, of course, rather it is an issue across Canada as the population grows and people flock to transit.

It seems to me more relevant than ever that there should be a national transit strategy to identify what is required to tackle gridlock and to improve transit infrastructure so that it powers our economy forward.

This is not a political point – it is for the various levels of government to identify how to fund large-scale transit expansion. Rather it is the TTC adding its support for a comprehensive plan to tackle the growing problem of congestion and its crippling effect on our economy and quality of life.

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