Adding capacity, improving infrastructure at heart of TTC funding needs5/10/13 6:00 AM
Transit funding has been in the news quite a bit lately, and was the subject for a prolonged debate at City Council this week (May 7-8, 2013).
While the nature of funding is a matter for our political leaders, there is a compelling need to provide additional, sustained funding to enable the TTC to renew and expand its capacity to alleviate congestion and to maintain our network in good condition.
In London, the Underground subway network used to suffer from stop-start funding that did not facilitate efficient, long-term decision-making.
Now, a 10-year, multi-billion-pound city and federal budget is in place that has enabled complete renewal of trains, signalling and track, and expansion of the wider London transport system. This funding is guaranteed and Londoners have confidence that it will only be used for defined transit improvements.
In Toronto, there is a lot to do to fully upgrade our transit network. We are already investing in a new signal system, new trains, streetcars and buses, and the Spadina subway extension, which is over 50-per-cent constructed.
But a lot of critical projects remain unfunded or deferred longer than it ought to be. In the meantime, customer numbers (ridership) continue to rise; the TTC, then, must add additional capacity as a priority.
I welcome the debate on funding. If this ultimately delivers a stable, sustained funding stream for transit improvement, it will mean that we can push on with modernizing the TTC and adding much-needed
capacity for the future.
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