Advisory Panel debunks myths around transit planning with “hard truths”
The Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel released its first report this week seeking to dispel the myths and misconceptions about public transit that are preventing reasonable debate. It is the first of three papers intended to support a productive public discussion about possible revenue tools.
The paper seeks to expose the “hard truths” about transit planning in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) in order to move forward with discussion on how to pay for transit in the region.
These hard truths include:
• Subways are not the only good form of transit. Matching the right transit mode and technology to the proposed route is what matters.
• Transit does not automatically drive development. Transit does not automatically drive development. Success depends on the right alignment with economic growth and jobs.
• The cost of building the transit is not the main expense. The cost of building transit is not the main expense. The long term cost of operating and maintaining transit is far higher.
• Transit riders are not the only beneficiaries of new transit infrastructure. Everyone benefits − economically, socially, and environmentally.
• Transit expansion in the region is not at a standstill. There are $16 billion worth of transit construction now in progress throughout the GTHA.
• We can’t pay for the region-wide transit we need by cutting waste in government alone. The necessary funds cannot be found from savings and efficiencies alone.
Premier Kathleen Wynne convened the Advisory Panel on September 18 to “advise the Province on how to respond to the Metrolinx Investment Strategy and to engage the public to determine whether the Metrolinx recommendations are the right ones.” The panel is mandated to deliver a final report on how to pay for transit expansion in December of this year.
“Debates about transit plans and funding are mired in misconceptions about what can and should be done, and the Hard Truths paper is intended to reset the discussion. Whether the panel will be successful in their aim given the highly polarized political context remains to be seen,” writes Steve Monroe.
Learn more about the Advisory Panel and read the full report at transitpanel.ca.
Photo: Mike Derblich