The Ontario government is asking for public input into Budget 2020. Transport Action Ontario has made the following submission, focussing on the public transportation sector.
- Provide funding to implement the Ontario Northland and Metrolinx study on passenger train and bus renewal in Northern Ontario
- Work with the federal government to save the Huron Central Railway, ideally under Ontario Northland management
- Provide funding to initiate firm steps to implement some of the Action in the recently released draft transportation master plan. Particularly important are concrete steps on Actions 6 to 8, which deal with improving passenger rail on existing rail corridors owned by freight rail companies. Work needs to be initiated with the freight rail companies and with VIA Rail.
- Increase the gas tax share directed to urban transit. This had been promised by the Ford government during the election campaign, but was not kept.
- Initiate a study to permit Ontario municipalities to use new revenue tools, such as a piece of the provincial sales tax, a land-transfer tax, or authority for road tolls, to fund critical infrastructure such as public transit or roads.
- Develop a program to subsidize transit fare integration in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Areas in order to reduce two-fare walls between agencies like TTC-GO and TTC-York Region Transit.
- Include environmental and climate change considerations when reviewing transportation modal options. Any provincial transportation proposals are then more likely to meet with broader public approval.
- Expand the highly-successful Community Transportation Grant Program and improve regional coordination/planning/oversight and shared service models. See our letter to Jeff Yurek (Minister of Transportation at the time) of February 4, 2019 and re-sent to Minister Mulroney in July.
- Expand the HOT lane program on Ontario expressways.
Photo: Daniel Vorndran