Federal Debate Questions

Federal Election Transportation Debate

Below are the questions that were posed to candidates at the Federal Election Transportation Debate.
1. General
  • What is your party’s vision for ensuring a safe, seamless, equitable and sustainable transportation system that works for citizens and business? What role should evidence-based planning and realistic budgets play in achieving this vision?

2. Roads, Rail, Goods Movement and Smart Mobility

  • Cities around the world have introduced mobility pricing projects like tolls and congestion charges, with the aim of reducing congestion and greenhouse gas emissions and raising money for multi-modal transportation projects. Would your party support such initiatives by, for instance, directing some of the $190 billion the federal government has pledged for infrastructure projects to cities?
  • Technology is rapidly changing. How does your party plan to work with provinces and municipalities as they deal with automated and shared vehicles, micromobility and real-time data?
  • Streets are shared by pedestrians, cyclists, automobiles/TNCs, transit and goods movement vehicles – everyone is moving at different speeds and often distracted. This recipe has led to a high number of traffic deaths, particularly pedestrian deaths, in Toronto and other cities across Canada. How does your party plan to support provinces and municipalities trying to achieve Vision Zero safety objectives?
  • About 25% of Canada’s emissions are generated by the transportation sector, with 70-80% emitted from vehicles. To help decrease this percentage over the last 6 months, the Liberal government provides rebates on electric vehicle (EV) purchases with a target of all vehicle purchases being electric by 2040. In the first 6 months, 14,000 Canadians have taken advantage of an average $3,750 rebate ($52.5 million). Since these sales represents less than 3% of the 2 million new vehicles sold annually, would your party continue, modify or cancel this EV rebate policy?
  • The Georgetown “Missing Link” freight bypass project was abandoned by the Ontario government in December 2018 even though all day two-way GO Train service between Kitchener and Toronto cannot be realized without it. For those who don’t know - the bypass would have created a separate, 30-km rail corridor for freight trains, freeing up CN track between Georgetown and Bramalea to run frequent GO service. Just as important, the bypass would have seen freight companies move dangerous goods traffic north of Toronto to the highway 407 utility corridor instead of running it through one of the densest urban corridors in Canada as is presently the case. The project was shelved despite support for the project from CN, CP, Mississauga, Cambridge, Milton and Toronto. If elected, would you party take any steps to revive this project?
  • The City of Los Angeles banned big-rig and delivery trucks from streets, roads and highways during rush hours from 6am-9am and 4pm to 7pm. This reduced traffic by approximately 60% during the 1984 Olympic Games, and has been in place for 25 years. It’s a fast, low cost, (temporary) congestion solution. Would you (and your party) support this?

3. Public Transit and Intercity Travel

  • The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is calling for parties to commit to a permanent public transit financing mechanism. Mayors of big cities like Edmonton’s Don Iveson and Toronto’s John Tory want the existing public transit infrastructure fund which is being used here to pay for SmartTrack and Bloor-Yonge station expansion to be extended beyond its 2027 horizon to create a steady stream of funding that would allow cities to pursue long-term transit capital and maintenance plans instead of waiting for new federal commitments every few years. Would your party create such a permanent fund as part of National Transit Strategy? If so, how much would you commit? Would there be strings attached to ensure that economic, environmental, and social benefits are achieved?
  • Earlier this month a group of Conservative candidates wrote to the federal government and asked Ottawa to commit funding to the Ontario Line (OL), the 15.5 km rail line Premier Doug Ford announced in April and would replace the relief line subway project. It’s estimated to cost about $11 billion. The federal Liberal government has said the province hasn’t yet provided enough details of the OL plan to make a funding commitment. Would your party commit funding to this project to ensure it gets built? 
  • What is the best role for the federal government in encouraging or requiring Canada’s railways to better accommodate the needs of passenger rail services? At the same time, intercity bus service is dying in small cities and towns. What is your party’s plan to reverse this trend?
  • The federal government, like doctors, has a responsibility to “do no harm”. In light of that and evidence-based decision making, why is the federal government still funding the Scarborough Subway Extension?

4. Air and Marine Policy

  • Since 1972, the federal government has land-banked 9,000 acres of land for the Pickering Airport. Meanwhile, Pearson will reach its capacity of 85 million travellers by 2035 – almost 11 million people  travelled between July 1 and Sept 1.  While there is a plan to expand Pearson and develop a system of airports in Southern Ontario it is unlikely this will satisfy demand.  Where does your party stand on building the Pickering Airport and when will it be in operation? 
  • The use of marine vessels for moving goods is currently at 50% of capacity. What will your party do to increase goods movement on this underutilized mode, especially as water levels in the Great Lake/St. Lawrence River rise due to climate change?

5. Taxes, Funding and Financing

  • Does your party support public-private partnerships to get transportation projects completed (as opposed to reliance on long-term debt financing)? If not, would your party disband the Canada Infrastructure Bank that has been created to invest $10 billion in public transit systems, trade and transportation corridors (in partnership with the private sector)?
  • The Conservative Party has promised to bring back the transit tax credit that Stephen Harper enacted. The Liberals and analysts say that this credit did not increase ridership and didn’t benefit low-income groups. Would your party support the tax credit again or are there better ways to support those who need it most?
  • The basic bicycle is the most efficient vehicle, but it remains too dangerous. Will your party ensure that any federal funding is linked to safe cycling with hard targets, including cycling injury pattern and cyclist review of city priorities? 

6. Leadership, Governance and Communications

  • Governance provides a framework for stakeholders at different levels of government to work cohesively and earmark limited resources to transportation policy and projects. How should federal government work with other levels of government for best possible outcomes for citizens? How can this working relationship be improved to gain efficiencies and trust?