Reliable funding for GTHA Transit/Transportation Infrastructure
The Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) is at a crossroads: one branch – the “high road” – leads to achieving a transformed transportation system with faster and more widespread transit service, much of it on rail; roads designed and operated to serve all movements of people and goods more efficiently and safely, including buses, trucks, pedestrians and cyclists as well as single-occupant cars; real-time information to assist travellers on their way; an integrated and more convenient fare- and revenue-collection system; and more sustainable development patterns which encourage shorter trips and greater use of transit and active transportation through compact, mixed use mobility hubs and corridors. The other branch – the “low road” – leads to continuing “business as usual” because of insufficient, ad hoc funding, lacking most of the major changes needed to increase travellers’ choices of modes other than the private automobile, and requiring increasingly futile attempts to provide essential increases in transportation capacity, speed and reliability through auto-dominated networks, land uses and policies.
The Alliance has prepared this paper to provide information on the accelerating growth of GTHA traffic congestion, the urgent need to implement Metrolinx’s Regional Transportation Plan and major benefits from doing so, the substantial funding shortfalls threatening its implementation, and alternative funding sources which could be considered to finance the Big Move and related improvements. Next steps will focus on wide public dissemination of this information and discussion of the pros and cons of the alternatives, to help reach informed decisions on an investment strategy for GTHA’s future transit/transportation system.