Unpacking the Truths about Transit Investment

By Cherise Burda
Published October 22, 2013

Today, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne's Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel released its first issue paper entitled: The Hard Truths about Transit in the Toronto Region.

I am honoured to be a member of the panel, which was established with a mandate to advise the Province whether the Metrolinx's Investment Strategy recommendations are the right ones.

The first four weeks we spent grappling with this central question: Despite consensus on the seriousness of the transportation and congestion problem in Toronto, why can't we agree on how to solve it?

Unpacking this question involved meeting with dozens of experts, ministries, agencies and stakeholders, and consulting stacks of reports, financial statements and papers.

Our goal is to make responsible decisions about what transit to build, where, and how to pay for it. The panel identified a number of persistent myths, distortions and misconceptions that have been driving reasonable debate off the rails.

We concluded that before we can make sensible and informed recommendations about transit investment, we must all first understand and accept these hard truths:

These truths will guide the panel going forward in considering how best to make transit investments. In the meantime we encourage everyone to read the issue paper [PDF] and visit the panel website, share opinions with the panel and follow @TransitPanel on Twitter.

First published on the Pembina blog

Cherise Burda directs research and implementation strategies for transportation solutions in Canada, including policy initiatives for urban form. In addition to her role as transportation director, Cherise leads the Pembina Institute's Ontario policy program, focusing on research to advance renewable energy solutions, and is a regular spokesperson on transportation, renewable energy and Ontario policy issues.

Since joining the Institute in 2007, Cherise has written dozens of energy, transportation and urban development publications, including: Behind the Wheel, Live Where You Go, Making Tracks to Torontonians, the RBC-Pembina Home Location Survey, and Plugging Ontario into a Green Future.

Cherise's 17-year career as a policy specialist and senior manager includes past experience as a program director with the David Suzuki Foundation and a senior researcher with the Polis Institute at University of Victoria's Faculty of Law.

Follow her on twitter @CheriseBurda.


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By Mal (anonymous) | Posted October 22, 2013 at 21:43:57

Technically, there's $16 billion of transit construction now in progress throughout the GTA. The H is included for reasons other than descriptive accuracy.

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By Keith (anonymous) | Posted October 23, 2013 at 14:11:08 in reply to Comment 93545

The introduction of 30 minute GO service has resulted in increased service to Hamilton, as has the Quick Wins projects (or will shortly).

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By Rimshot (anonymous) | Posted October 23, 2013 at 14:46:41

Truth #7: The house always wins.

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