Category Archives for "Urban Transit"

Jul 03

Open Letter to Premier Ford and Minister Yakabuski

By Transport Action Ontario | Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News , Northern Ontario , Press Releases and Open Letters , Urban Transit

Transport Action Ontario would like to congratulation Premier Doug Ford, Minister of Transportation John Yakabuski and the rest of the Ontario PC team on their recent election victory. We were pleased to see the strong emphasis on public transportation in the “Plan for the People”. We have sent an open letter to the Premier and Minister with comments on the public transportation aspects of the platform.

The letter can be viewed here:  TAO-LettertoFord 2018-07-03

Jun 13

Analysis of Ontario PC Party Transportation Platform

By Transport Action Ontario | Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News , Northern Ontario , Urban Transit

The election of Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives will likely change the advocacy terrain for Transport Action Ontario (TAO). The PCs made numerous transportation-related promises in their “Plan for the People” platform, although details were often lacking. The five key promises (in bold italics), along with TAO’s preliminary analysis, are given below.

1. Deliver 2-way all-day GO service, GO expansions and regional transit projects in Ottawa, Hamilton, Mississauga/Brampton, Kitchener-Waterloo and London. This appears to be good news, indicating the current slate of funded projects will be delivered, including GO Regional Express Rail and the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Bus Rapid Transit projects.

2. Upload responsibility for existing and new subway lines from the City of Toronto ($160M/yr for existing), while guaranteeing the City keeps all revenue. . Although this promise does put more money in Toronto’s pocket, the yearly major capital maintenance costs of the existing subway network greatly exceed $160M/yr.

3. Add $5B in new subway funding to the $9B already available to build Sheppard Loop, Scarborough Extension, Relief Line and Yonge Extension, while building future Crosstown extensions underground.   While the extra $5B is welcome, this appears to assume that the $9B recently committed by the feds and province is entirely directed at subways. Three of these subway ideas (Sheppard, Scarborough, Crosstown Extension) are very dubious and would not be supported by evidence. Furthermore the quantum of money is insufficient to build these projects. This promise displays the very unhealthy “subways, subways, subways” mentality that has caused so much damage in the past. There are many important LRT projects in Toronto, including Waterfront and Eglinton East that need funding.

4. Actively explore high speed rail (HSR) and study highway projects (various highway projects mentioned, including completing the environmental assessment (EA) for the GTA-W corridor).  This appears to continue the Liberal plan to conduct an EA on HSR. Our biggest concern is that the planned EA had narrow scope and would not look at an HPR alternative. A clarification was received from Ernie Hardeman, MPP Oxford on the day before the election that the EA will explore all alternatives. While welcome, we need to ensure this really happens.

5. Bring back passenger rail service to the North ($45M per year). This is good news as it likely relates to restoring the Northlander service. We need to ensure this really happens and is only Step 1 of a northern rail passenger service!

There are other important issues that the PC platform was silent on, including provincial contribution to transit fare integration in Greater Toronto, and whether Metrolinx should receive broader authority and scope.

Of course, the biggest question is where the money will come from. The PCs are proposing a whole array of tax cuts, including middle class income tax cut, business tax cut, gas tax cut and eliminating the carbon tax. The latter two cuts have a double whammy – some of the funds are currently earmarked for transit, and secondly, higher gas and carbon taxes nudge human behaviour towards sustainable transportation modes, such as rail, which is good for the planet.

 

In conclusion, there is plenty to keep TAO  busy in upcoming years!  We will continue to closely monitor developments in these and other transportation areas of interest.

Jan 09

Response to the Greater Golden Horseshoe Transportation Plan

By Transport Action Ontario | Highways and Bridges , Intercity Rail and Bus , Latest News , Urban Transit

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation is developing a long-range (2051) multimodal transportation plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe.  Objectives include reducing congestion, supporting economic growth, promoting healthy lifestyles, responding to the climate change challenge and leveraging new technology.   The province is seeking public input on a draft set of long-term goals which will inform the plan.

 

Transport Action Ontario, along with 5 other non-government organizations, has formally responded to the Province’s request for comments.  Our letter can be viewed here:  GGH Draft Transportation Plan Comments – December 22, 2017

Dec 18

Second Update on Funding Gaps for Rapid and Conventional Transit in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

By Transport Action Ontario | Latest News , Major Reports , Urban Transit

Transport Action Ontario has released a second update report and backgrounder on funding gaps for transit in the GTHA.  It reflects an assumed rapid transit network as proposed by Metrolinx in their 2017 draft Regional Transportation Plan, rather than that identified in their 2016 discussion paper.

These two reports update our two previous reports posted in September, 2017.

TAO-$GapUpdate2017-12

TAO-$GapUpdate2017-12-Backgrounder

Nov 16

Comments on Metrolinx draft Regional Transportation Plan

By Transport Action Ontario | Latest News , Press Releases and Open Letters , Publications and Links , Urban Transit

Metrolinx, the regional transportation planning agency for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, released an updated draft Regional Transportation Plan in September 2017, with comments due by late November.  A collaborative of 12 non-government advocacy organizations spanning the health, environment and transportation sectors, including Transport Action Ontario (TAO), submitted comments to Metrolinx.  Our comments can be viewed in the attachment.  They include points on improved transit planning, aligning transit with land use density and new revenue tools.

Our letter received good coverage in a Toronto Star article  on October 31, including comments by TAO’s Peter Miasek.

Following this article, Peter Miasek of TAO and Gideon Forman from the David Suzuki Foundation penned an Op-ed that amplified on the major points in the letter, particularly on getting politics out of transit planning,  the need for new revenue tools and the need to connect land use and transit planning decisions. The Op-ed was published in the Toronto Star on November 8 and can be viewed here.

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