A Hard Truth: Transit Panel tax recommendations won't reduce GTHA congestion

Item date: 
December 13, 2013
Item context: 

 

For Immediate Release

  A Hard Truth: Transit Panel tax recommendations won't reduce GTHA congestion
Omitting road tolls and other mobility pricing measures will result in more gridlock, crashes and emissions
  

GUELPH, December 13, 2013 – Having facilitated Ontario’s only non-partisan mobility pricing conversation since 2008, Transport Futures (TF) is disappointed by the revenue tool recommendations made by the Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel yesterday.

“The Transit Panel has chosen taxes that might build more transit over the next 20 years but will do little to cut traffic congestion, increase road safety, or reduce climate change and smog”, stated TF founder Martin Collier. “We simply can’t wait two more decades to deal with these serious challenges while we add 2.5 million people and a million cars to the GTHA.”

Extensive mobility pricing research and case studies presented by 85 international and Canadian experts at ten TF conferences, including one held on November 18, were virtually ignored by the Panel.

“The omission is surprising since comprehensive road tolls and parking fees, combined with zone-based transit fares and a new carbon tax that replaces the existing provincial excise tax on gasoline, will easily raise the needed revenue and influence modal choices, too.  Mobility pricing can help provide the public and business with a reliable, equitable and sustainable transportation network”, Collier said. 

“The Panel’s ‘build it and they will come’ approach is only half of the answer.  According to Transportation Minister Glen Murray, the City of Atlanta admitted that their $50 billion transit investment would not be enough to stop congestion from being 30 percent worse by 2030.”

Collier supports the Panel’s recommendations on transit project criteria, integrated land use planning and governance but is especially frustrated by its simplistic and inconsistent road pricing analysis. 

“Even though the Drummond Report suggests exploring several road pricing measures, the Panel has rejected tolls mainly because we haven’t implemented them on a large scale before. Yet they fully endorse the expensive electrification of the network which has never been done previously.”

Collier says there is still time to select mobility pricing measures but leadership and honest communication is badly needed. 

“The Panel is adamant that transit decisions be de-politicized so why can’t we do the same when it comes to revenue tool decisions?  With municipal and provincial elections happening in 2014, TF will continue to do its part to advance progressive road pricing, parking fees, gas/carbon tax and transit fare policy through research, education and pilot projects.”

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Transport Futures (TF) is a series of learning events staged by Healthy Transport Consulting (HTC) since November 2008. Our goal is to facilitate a rational, non-partisan and ongoing dialogue pertaining to a range of mobility pricing measures and infrastructure funding mechanisms. TF is spearheaded by HTC Director Martin Collier with the support of a range of corporate and non-profit partners.

For further information and interviews, please contact Martin Collier.