Toronto should have one regional transportation body that is responsible for planning and executing long term transportation plans throughout the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area.
Pros: Streamline all transit decisions; coordinate action across the entire region rather than at the municipal level; ensure commitment to long-term policies and programs; should be composed of unelected transit experts and regionally elected politicians from both the province and municipalities.
Cons: Political resistance to giving up decision-making power at the local level; argument that this body already exists in Metrolinx; high cost of implementation – rebranding, staffing integration etc.
Due to the complex and interconnected mobility patterns of residents in the GTA, it makes sense that all transit decisions, regardless of municipality or mode of transport, should be made by one organization. Consolidating power would increase accountability, as one body, as opposed to several smaller organizations, would be responsible for transit service and expansion.
In order to advance transportation planning and infrastructure investments in the Greater Toronto Hamilton Area, one transportation body, Metrolinx, should own and operate all of the transit systems in the region. By uploading the TTC, MiWay (Mississauga Transit), York Region Transit, Durham Transit and GO Transit to Metrolinx, transit decision-making, service delivery, maintenance, and expansion would be more efficiently organized and executed.
The politicization of transit decisions in the GTA – particularly with regards to the LRT versus subway debates and the scrapping of Transit City in Toronto – has left the opinions of transit, land development, and planning professionals out of the conversation. Metrolinx has proposed revenue tools to pay for it’s Big Move, the $30 billion, 20 year regional transit plan, as well as conducted extensive public consultations on various components of the plan. Despite the investments of time and resources into shovel-ready plans, the Big Move is largely stagnant due to a lack of political commitment and financing.
By consolidating all transit decisions with one organization, resources can be more efficiently pooled, the opinions of transit experts will be respected, project approvals streamlined, priorities will be clearly stated and residents and business will know what to expect in terms of transit development in their region.
Furthermore, the organization should be independent from government to eliminate political intervention and empower the organization to execute its own decisions regarding transit projects. This is only achievable if the organization has a source of long-term dedicated revenue. The TTC and Metrolinx are working together on the construction, operation, and maintenance of the Eglington CrossTown LRT. Cooperation, however, is not as efficient as an organization working unilaterally with financial and political authority.
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