My comments regarding OPC Leader Tim Hudak’s White Paper and his views on the future of Toronto Transit
I congratulate Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak on the release of Ontario PC White Paper today.
As TTC Chair I have some comments on its “transit” component, specifically “Path 5″:
“Metrolinx should be put in charge of planning and operation of what will become a truly regional system that moves people faster and more efficiently. This requires transferring operations of TTC subways and LRTs, expanding the transportation and transit network, and ultimately integrating all regionally important assets like highways and certain bus routes under Metrolinx.”
From “PATHS TO PROSPERITY – AN AGENDA FOR GROWTH”, Page 14
“The first step is to truly integrate the GTHA commuter rail network by transferring the current subway and future LRT operations of the TTC under Metrolinx, the provincial agency responsible for coordinating and integrating transportation in the GTHA.”
Ibid, Page 13
I must thank Mr. Hudak for acknowledging and confirming Toronto’s future LRT operations, endorsed by Toronto City Council in February and March. Our profitable subways were correctly planned. LRTs are the right mode for the population densities they will travel through. LRTs are a fast, efficient mode of transit which Calgary and the Prime Minister’s riding are now enjoying, the right transit at the right price. We look forward to the arrival of Toronto’s LRTs.
Our transit operational subsidy ratio is among the lowest in the Western World. That is a benefit to taxpayers but not a testament to our higher levels of government. It is a testament to the efforts of TTC management and labour.
The TTC, with over 500 million riders each year, remains one of the most integrated transit systems in North America. With one flat fare riders can travel on buses, streetcars, subways and future LRTs.
If the TTC were to be uploaded it would need to be uploaded in its entirety to maintain its integrity.
Also, if the Province paid the subsidy for the TTC it would save Toronto’s taxpayers about $500 million each year.
If an Ontario PC government would consider uploading all the TTC then it would be worth discussing. I believe any transfer of TTC to Metrolinx or any provincial body should be an “all-or-nothing” proposition; otherwise I believe Torontonians will have more operational costs downloaded onto them than ever before.
Mr. Hudak has some experience with the TTC, its infrastructure delays and its funding, from his time in OPC caucus in 1995. Tough decisions were made then. Those decisions reverberate today. They should be remembered and we should discuss them.
I also appreciate Mr. Hudak’s frank and honest comment regarding subways, specifically:
“Where money’s available we’ll build subways,”
I look forward to finding out more about how such money will be made “available”, and when.
I did not hear from Mr. Hudak or his office as they developed their White Paper but am always available to discuss their priorities with them.
Chair, Toronto Transit Commission