York leaders seek 'tools' to fund regional transit, roads

Item date: 
March 25, 2015
Item context: 

As this article indicates, Martin Collier participated on a York PEO Conference panel with Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti, Richmond Hill Councillor Chan, Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig and KPMG partner Will Lipson.  Unfortunately, the journalist did not detail the discussion about road pricing, parking and P3s.

 

By LISA QUEEN

After Greater Toronto Area mayors and chairpersons met with Premier Kathleen Wynne Tuesday to discuss collaborating on a number of issues, they are now looking to the upcoming provincial budget for new “revenue tools” to bankroll roads and transit, Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti said at a York Region transportation symposium yesterday.

The public has indicated it is willing to pay taxes or fees or see the government sell off some assets if the money is earmarked for transportation funding, Scarpitti said...

“There has to be some new tools that help fund the advancement of the implementation of the transit plan. Because if we don’t have that, we’re not going to see it move forward.”

Congestion is worse in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area than anywhere else in North America, Bruce McCuaig, president of Metrolinx, a government agency created to co-ordinate and integrate inter-regional transportation, said.

It is costing the region $11 billion a year in lost productivity, which could double in 30 years, he said.

As part of a panel discussion during the conference, hosted by the York chapter of the Professional Engineers Ontario at the Markham Event Centre, Scarpitti floated the idea of boosting the gas tax temporarily, while fuel costs are low, to fund transportation.

The panel, which included McCuaig, Richmond Hill Councillor Godwin Chan, KPMG partner Will Lipson and Transport Futures founder Martin Collier, also discussed other revenue options such as parking levies, road tolls, development charges, the sales tax and privatization...

While Wynne, a former minister of municipal affairs and minister of transportation, is proving to be the most accessible premier Scarpitti has worked with during his 25-plus years in municipal politics, she must realize residents and businesses are extremely frustrated with the state of transportation, Scarpitti said.

“It’s really just getting on with whatever tool they (the provincial government) decide is the best way to raise the money, but, clearly, the public, we all know, has had enough. They want to see an investment in road and rapid transit,” he said.

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