For anyone who thinks governments (including the Province) have invested enough money in meeting the transit needs of Toronto and our surrounding neighbours, think again. A new report shows that while governments have already made significant investments, much more needs to be done to finish building and operating a regional transit system.
This is the main conclusion from a new report called Are We There Yet? The State of Transit Investment in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. The report was written by MovetheGTHA, a collaboration of over 20 organizations in the health, policy, environment, citizen advocacy and city-building fields. TEA is a core member of MovetheGTHA and played a key role in creating the report.
Key findings of the report include:
- To date, provincial, federal and municipal governments have committed a total of $39.3 billion in capital funding to build approximately 571 km of new rapid transit across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA);
- Money required to operate, maintain and rehabilitate this rapid transit system once it is build has not been planned for or set aside. The report estimates they will reach $1.6 billion per year by 2022, and $3.8 billion per year by 2032.
- There is a capital funding gap of $28.8 billion to finish building the rapid transit projects in the Big Move, the province’s regional transit plan..
- Building transit is an excellent investment that helps to meet new greenhouse gas targets, builds walkable, transit-focused communities with a mix of housing and proximity to jobs and amenities, and helps grow our economic centres.
The report calls on governments to develop sustainable sources of revenue to pay for the remaining capital and operating costs needed to complete and operate the Big Move.
The report also calls on the Provincial Government to organize a transit summit as soon as possible. The summit should bring together all levels of government and transit agencies to create a detailed, sustainable investment plan.
While it’s up to governments to figure out how to pay for the transit we need, Torontonians can make this happen faster by telling their MPP, MP and City Councillor that creating sustainable funding tools for transit is a priority.