Tag Archives: TTC

National Public Transit: Tackling Public Transit, With or Without Mayor Rob Ford

TorontoistKeeping up with our mandate to bring you the news,media or opinions on public transit we were fortunate enough to have been introduced to the Torontoist. The Torontoist has become the largest, most influential, and most widely-read website of its kind in Canada. Below is an article by Daren Foster….of whom I personally will be following closely.

At the first Feeling Congested panel, even some of the mayor’s allies seemed to agree that the City may need to tax and toll its way to better transit.

It struck me, sitting in the audience for the first panel discussion related to the City’s Feeling Congested public-transit campaign on Monday night, that any similar event in the future needs to leave an empty spot on the panel—sort of like when people leave an empty seat for Elijah at a Passover seder, except this empty seat would be for Mayor Rob Ford. The door is always open to him, an invitation extended. But if the short tradition of this transit discussion holds, he will never make an appearance.

Or rather, he will be there in spirit.

The mayor’s presence hung heavily and awkwardly over every question asked and every answer given on Monday. Metrolinx’s Big Move needs leadership, someone to champion it as a vital step towards dealing with the congestion that’s disrupting the entire GTA’s economic and social well-being. To have the mayor of the biggest municipality in the region fundamentally disagreeing with the idea of new revenue tools and obstinately absenting himself from the debate establishes a significant obstacle—a major road block, if you will. It’s the exact opposite of leadership. It’s a hindrance.

Read more by Daren Foster at our friends the Torontoist



Privatization and Public Transit in Toronto:

The 2012 Provincial Auditor’s Report on Metrolinx

Metrolinx, a Government of Ontario agency, has a mandate to “co-ordinate and integrate all modes of transportation in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area” (GTHA). Its blueprint for regional transportation expansion, The Big Move, was released in 2008. Initially, all debt to support transit projects in this plan was to be arranged through the Ontario Financing Authority using public procurement. However, by 2011 its investment strategy reflected changes to the Ontario Infrastructure and Lands Corporation Act that required projects over $50-million to be considered for Alternate Funding Procurement.

In traditional public procurement, money is borrowed directly from the government at low interest rates. The appropriate government agency has responsibility for design, operation and maintenance while either undertaking the construction itself (of which there are many advantages which neoliberalism has shunted) or contracting out construction to a builder. But in the new Alternate Funding Procurement (AFP) model, a private consortium obtains financing from a private bank in order to design, build and possibly maintain and operate government infrastructure. AFP is essentially another term for public-private partnership (or P3) [Ed.: seeJohn Loxley on P3s]. Continue reading

Is the TTC (still) the most expensive transit system in North America?

Back in December 2011, I asked whether or not the TTC is priciest transit system in North America.The answer at that time was “yes,” at least amongst big-city, single-fare, bus-and-rail systems.

Since then, the lagging impact of the Long Recession has caught up with many US public transit systems, slamming them with large fare increases and service reductions.  While generously funded compared to the TTC, many of these systems rely much more directly on sales, property and payroll tax revenue for these extra funds and their operating budgets are therefore much more sensitive to shortfalls during economic downturns.  (Capital projects are another story, with billions in federal funding that Canadian cities can only drool at).

As a result of the economy, and despite solid ridership, cities such as Dallas, Chicago and Boston saw fare increases from 15% to 23% while other cities struggled with threats of massive service cuts. In other words, 2012 was not kind to many transit systems. Continue reading