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Press Release: How much will we pay for delay?

For Immediate Release

Transit Users to Metrolinx CEO:
How Much Will We Pay for Delay?

Toronto: Today, the Public Transit Coalition (PTC) called on Metrolinx President and CEO, J. Robert S. Prichard, to calculate the cost to Ontarians for delaying $4 billion in expenditures on Transit City.

“So far, the discussion has only been about how much money the Provincial Treasury will save by delaying construction of the 4 Transit City lines by up to 6 years,” said Dr. Franz Hartmann, Executive Director of the Toronto Environmental Alliance and PTC member. “Unfortunately, there have been no discussions about how much this delay will cost the GTA’s economy and commuters.”

Both a 2008 Metrolinx study and a 2010 Toronto Board of Trade study identify the huge economic costs GTA residents have to bear as result of traffic congestion and too little transit. These include costs to businesses, people and the environment. As well, delay means Ontarians don’t gain access to the huge economic benefits that flow from transit investment. A 2008 study by the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) shows that for every dollar invested in public transit, Canadians get $2 in benefits. Metrolinx’s 2008 study shows Ontarians get $1.50 in benefits for every dollar invested in its proposed Regional Transportation Plan.

The Public Transit Coalition is calling on Metrolinx to provide a cost benefit analysis that compares the cost of delay to Ontarians to the benefits to the Provincial Treasury.

“A delay in Transit City is also a delay for Metrolinx’s entire Big Move Plan,” said economist Hugh Mackenzie. “This will have a profound impact on the GTA economy as businesses and people continue paying the costs of unnecessary traffic congestion, longer commuter times and environmental damage.”

“Think of Toronto’s transit system as a leaky roof: it’s not providing proper coverage for key parts of the city,” said Hartmann. “We need to fix the roof as soon as possible. But our property manager wants to delay to avoid paying interest on the loan needed to fix the roof. They’re not telling us how much we will have to pay while we wait for the repairs.”

“Everyone agrees public transit development is important,” said Mackenzie. “The Province says it can’t afford to spend $4 billion by 2016. Before any final decision is made to delay, Ontarians deserve to know what it will cost them. Only then, can we make an informed decision.”

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For more information contact:
Dr. Franz Hartmann (416-606-8881) or Jamie Kirkpatrick (416-895-3406).

The studies referred to above can be found at the following links:

2008 Metrolinx Study: http://www.metrolinx.com/Docs/Agendas/Nov28_08/ISP_08-015_Cost_of_Congestion_Report.pdf

2010 Board of Trade Study: http://bot.com/Content/NavigationMenu/Policy/Scorecard/Scorecard_on_Prosperity_2010_FINAL.pdf

2008 CUTA Study: http://www.cutaactu.ca/en/the_optimal_supply_and_demand_for_urban_transit_in_canada