Category Archives for "Urban Transit"

Mar 08

Urgent Time-out Needed for Scarborough Subway Extension

By Transport Action Ontario | Latest News , Urban Transit

The Ontario government has announced the selection of the consortium that will construct the tunnels for the Scarborough Subway Extension. Transport Action Ontario (TAO) has long expressed concern with this project.

One claimed advantage of tunneling was that the existing Scarborough RT would not have to close during subway construction. With the revelation that a new deep-tube subway would not be finished until 2030, and that the RT will not run past 2023, that argument is moot. TAO continues to engage with elected officials at the City and Provincial level to advocate for consideration of various surface options, particularly the approach of constructing a branch line (“Smart Spur”) from the existing GO Transit commuter rail line. As this is a provincially-uploaded project, the Province has the final say.

A recent op-ed by noted transit experts Stephen Wickens, David Crowley, Bern Grush, Ed Levy and Richard Soberman points out the folly of the current subway plan and the much better alternatives that exist, including “Smart Spur”.

Jan 31

Input to Ontario 2021 Budget Consultation

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

Transport Action Ontario was invited to provide a short verbal presentation on recommendations for the 2021 Ontario Budget to Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy on January 29. We also submitted the same remarks plus supplemental information to the Ministry of Finance.

We proposed a list of 9 items. These are described in the supplemental material, and can be boiled down into 4 overarching themes:

  • Fulfill promises on intercity public transport
  • Continue to invest wisely in GTHA transit
  • Cancel the GTA West expressway (Highway 413)
  • Support Short Line Railways

Our submission can be viewed here:

Oct 25

Transport Action Ontario AGM and Public Presentation – October 24, 2020 – UPDATED

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

Updated: a video recording of the entire meeting is now available:

View on our Youtube Channel

Transport Action Ontario’s (TAO) annual general meeting, postponed from its usual spring date due to the pandemic, will be held on Saturday, October 24, 2020, starting at 1:00 pm Eastern.  As is our usual practice, we will also have a presentation open to the public. Both events will be virtual, and free to join from your computer or phone. Here are the details:

Public Presentation (1:00 pm)

We are pleased to announce that our guest lecturer will be Stephen Wickens, transit researcher and journalist with a four-decade career at four Toronto-based daily newspapers. Steve will summarize his recent report for the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO) entitled “Station to Station: Why Subway-building Costs have Soared in the Toronto Region”. This thoughtful report has been well received and hopefully will inform government decisions about at-grade versus below-grade rapid transit projects.

Annual General Meeting (2:00pm)

The AGM will review 2019-2020 performance by the organization and elect the executive and board of directors for the upcoming year. TAO members in good standing will receive an electronic invite and can vote at the virtual meeting, or give a proxy to another member.  Send proxy information to ontario@transportaction.ca.

TAO is always looking for new members to join our board of directors. If you have a passion for public transportation and want to make a difference, contact us at ontario@transportaction.ca.

Oct 16

Submission to Ontario Fall 2020 Budget Consultation

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

The Ontario government is asking for public input into the Fall, 2020 Budget, to be released in early November. Transport Action Ontario has made the following submission, focusing on public transportation.

Northern Ontario

  • Provide funding to implement the Ontario Northland + Metrolinx study on passenger train and bus renewal in Northern Ontario
  • Work with the federal government to save the Huron Central Railway (HCR), ideally under Ontario Northland management

Southwestern Ontario

  • 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. This would include lengthening freight sidings to effectively provide passenger rail priority.

Other Rail

  • Work with the federal government to assist Ontario’s short line railways by providing financial assistance as per our position paper of September 14, 2020. In addition to the HCR above, the Barrie-Collingwood-Railway is currently under threat of closure.

Urban and Rural Transit

  • Continue to work with the Federal Government on emergency funding for transit to bridge revenue loss from Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Increase the gas tax share directed to 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.
  • Expand the highly-successful Community Transportation Grant Program and improve regional coordination/planning/oversight and shared service models. 

General

  • 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 HOT lane program on Ontario expressways.
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