Category Archives for "Latest News"

Jul 07

Province-Wide Consulations on Modernizing Ontario Intercity Bus Regime

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

 

 

Intercity bus service is a key component of a connected intercity public transportation network in Ontario.  For example, our Network Southwest Integrated Passenger Rail and Bus Action Plan proposes a strong network of buses connected to a rail “spine”.  However, the reality in Ontario is very different – with declining service and reduced frequencies.   In 2015, the province initiated consultations on modernizing the intercity bus regime.  Both Transport Action Ontario and the Southwest Ontario Transportation Alliance (SWOTA) provided commentary.  (See TAO website for our joint letter of September 24, 2015).
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation has now issued a discussion paper and a schedule for consultation during July/August.  Please read the paper and feed back any thoughts to the address in the paper.  We also encourage members to attend some of these meetings and provide feedback in person.
Jul 06

Intruiging Agreement between CN and Province of Ontario

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

 

 

The busy CN mainline between Bramalea (Halwest) and Georgetown (Silver) has long been a bottleneck for increasing GO and VIA service to Kitchener and points further west like Stratford and London.  On June 14, Ontario announced that the province has secured an agreement-in-principle with CN that will allow GO Regional Express Rail to be built along the Kitchener GO corridor.  The agreement-in-principle also begins the planning and technical analysis to build a new freight corridor that will allow CN to shift most of its freight traffic from the section of the Kitchener corridor it owns – namely between Bramalea and Georgetown – to the new corridor.  This will free up capacity for more GO and VIA service.  The province also announced funding to help build a multimodal transportation hub in downtown Kitchener and the extension of two morning and two afternoon peak train trips that currently run between Union Station and Georgetown to also serve Kitchener, Guelph and Acton.
The Ontario-CN agreement is very interesting.  It comes on the heels of the “Missing Link” study prepared by 4 municipalities in 2015 to allow increased GO service on both the Kitchener and Milton lines.   (See Ontario Report, November-December, 2015.) This agreement appears to be different, but time will tell.
Jun 25

State of Transit Investment in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA)

By Transport Action Ontario | Latest News , Urban Transit

 

 

Transport Action Ontario is a core member of the Move the GTHA (MTGTHA) collaborative, a diverse group of organizations from health, labour, business, policy, environmental and citizen advocacy working together to build awareness, engagement and education in support of investment in the GTHA’s transportation system.

 

The collaborative intends to release a report in July on the state of transit investment in the GTHA.  The report was previewed at a meeting on local and regional transit investment organized by Environment Hamilton.  The Hamilton Spectator published a good summary of the meeting, as pasted below:

 

ARTICLE FROM HAMILTON SPECTATOR, JUNE 23, 2016

Funding Hamilton transportation operations will be pricey

By Joel OpHardt

Hamilton will have to worry about more than just project funding for the LRT. Maintenance and operation are costly too.

Peter Miasek, president of Transport Action Canada, highlighted key features of a report from the group Move the GTHA on the province’s Big Move transit plan.

The Big Move is a provincial transport plan that calls for the construction of a roughly 1,300-kilometre rapid transit network by 2033. Rapid transit would include public transit options such as bus rapid transit, light rail transit, heavy rail and subways.

“Municipalities are already struggling to pick up the year-to-year operational costs” for transit, Miasek told a crowd of about 40 people at the West Harbour Hub Thursday evening.

While transportation projects get funding from all three levels of government, municipalities are often forced to foot the bill themselves when it comes to maintenance and operation, said Miasek.

At current expansion rates, Move the GTHA estimates operation costs of the rapid transit network would cost municipalities $1.6 billion per year by 2022. By 2032 that number would balloon to $3.8 billion per year.

By 2042, municipalities will need to source $78 billion cumulatively to foot the bill.

“We’re going to need a revenue source that starts small but grows rapidly,” he said. “The sad news is no governments have made commitments.”

To add to the concern, Don McLean of Environment Hamilton pointed to Hamilton’s unique property tax policy that employs a varied transit levy according to location. Because communities like Ancaster and Stoney Creek pay about a third of what central Hamilton pays, the city doesn’t have the money to spend on effective city-wide transit investments.

As it stands, the news on the project funding is much better. Between the province, the federal government and municipalities, about $38.2 billion of the necessary $69 billion to complete the rapid transit network has been sourced.

That level of funding would supply the GTHA with about five more years of construction before the funding would need to be revamped.

Despite the operational cost conundrum, Miasek doesn’t shy of away from supporting rapid transit. The business case is there, he said. Congestion cost the GTHA $6 billion in 2013 and will cost it $15 billion per year by 2033, “simply from wasted time.”

If the Big Move succeeds, the number of people living within two kilometres of rapid transit in the GTHA would double to about 80 per cent.

But “everything starts and stops with money,” says Miasek.

The newly introduced HOT lanes would be a good starting point for funding, said Miasek, but “heavy hitter tools” like increasing HST and the gas tax would be necessary.

Miasek says case studies in the U.S. states and local polling show that the public will support new revenue tools if they’re transparent, if they cover all sectors, and if they’re used to fund projects with solid business cases.

Move the GTHA’s report on The Big Move will be published in July.

Jun 23

Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan – Transport Action Ontario comments

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

 

Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) was released in June, 2016.   TAO has been actively involved, both through the Move the GTHA collaborative and as an individual organization.

 

TAO supports much of the CCAP.  However, we have identified two significant concern areas related to transportation:

  • No consideration was given for increased role of freight intermodal in carbon emission reduction
  • No consideration was given to enhance public transportation outside the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area

 

Letters have been written to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change on both topics, and can be viewed below:

TAO-CCAP-intermodal2016-06-21

TAO-CCAP-PublicTransp2016-06-23

 

TAO will continue to track the CCAP closely.

 

 

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