For Immediate Release
May 27, 2013
Toronto: The release of Metrolinx's Investment Strategy was greeted with cautious optimism by the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA), which has been calling for action on transit expansion for over a decade.
"This is a very welcome half breath of fresh air that will help reduce air pollution," said Dr. Franz Hartmann, the Executive Director of TEA. "What's missing are recommendations about how to pay for transit operations."
Hartmann noted that Metrolinx did not address how to fund transit operations that will be required once the The Big Move is built, even though it was asked to do so in 2008.
"Metrolinx's silence on how to pay for transit operations is part of a larger problem with the current conversation about transit: it’s ignoring the more immediate issue of who pays for the daily operations of transit systems, once they are built," said Hartmann.
As past TTC reports have shown, over 70% of the daily costs to run the TTC are paid for by TTC users. This is the highest percentage of comparable North American cities.
"The Metrolinx Investment Strategy answers the question of how to raise money to build The Big Move,” said Hartmann. “Now, we need to expand the transit funding conversation to include new revenues to pay for existing and new transit operations. The sooner we make transit fares more affordable, the sooner more people will start using transit and that helps relieve traffic congestion and reduce pollution.
So far, the only recent report that has addressed transit operating costs is Toronto’s $2.5 Billion Question, a report released last week by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).
"As MPPs from all political parties reflect on Metrolinx’s Investment Strategy, we urge them to also consider including new sources of dedicated revenues to help pay for transit operations across the province,” said Hartmann.
For more information, contact: Franz Hartmann.