Toronto Region Board of Trade offers suggestions for funding The Big Move

News Mar 18, 2013 by Rahul Gupta Scarborough Mirror

It’s time to stop debating and get moving on paying for transit expansion, said the president of the Toronto Region Board of Trade (TRBOT) at a press conference Monday morning.

Before an audience at the board’s downtown headquarters, including representatives from Metrolinx, Carol Wilding announced recommendations for the preferred revenue tools it claims will generate nearly $5 billion annually for transit building – more than double the $2 billion Metrolinx says is needed to pay for the bulk of its $50 billion Big Move plan

“The debate is no longer if we need new revenue tools, but which ones,” Wilding said. “To succeed, all of us will have to contribute. All levels of government, the public and the private sector.”

Compiled in a report released Monday, those tools include a one per cent regional sales tax to generate up to $1.6 billion a year; a $1 per parking space levy also raising $1.6 billion annually; a 10 cent per litre regional fuel tax bringing in as much as $840 million; and a road toll for high-occupancy lanes charged at 30 cents per kilometre for single drivers who wish to use the lanes, which would generate a maximum of $45 million annually.

All of the recommendations are dedicated specifically for transit.

The report, titled A Green Light to Moving the Toronto Region: Paying for Public Transportation Expansion, was prepared by a special cabinet of 40 stakeholders and took three years to prepare.

Government, business leaders, economics academics and public polling all contributed to its findings.

The authors also looked at successful transit funding examples from across the world and whittled down an initial list of revenue tools from 26 to four, Wilding said.

She said the recommendations were chosen because they are fair, balanced and economically responsible.

“Everybody contributes and everybody benefits,” she said.

She warned annual congestion costs to the regional economy will balloon from $6 to $15 billion by 2031 due to population growth if the Big Move is not completed.

“A lack of mobility is negatively impacting bottom lines,” she said. “It is also taking a huge financial toll on our regional economy.”

Following the announcement, Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig praised TRBOT’s recommendations, but remained coy as to whether the provincial transportation planning will incorporate them in its forthcoming funding investment strategy for the Big Move to be delivered to the sitting premier in June.

“It’s a still little bit early for us to be suggesting where we are going to be moving in terms of our final recommendations,” McCuaig told reporters. “But this an important input as we move forward in our conversations.”

He said the TRBOT’s figures could be seen as applying to all levels of government funding.

“That’s an interesting approach they’ve taken and we will be looking at that.”

Wilding acknowledged the board’s revenue projections would further debate and criticism from some circles.

But she said the recommendations were intended to further the conversation and not act as the final word on funding.

“There will be consultation and negotiation by the province, municipalities and other stakeholders, and they will ultimately decide the final recommendation,” Wilding said. “We need $2 billion for the BIg Move, and we’ve put tools forward that will get us at least that far.”

Federal MP and rumoured 2014 mayoral candidate Olivia Chow, who attended the announcement, said she hoped the federal government heard the board’s call for long-term and dedicated transit funding.

“One thing is clear that all levels of government must act and we certainly hope this Thursday’s federal budget will have a long term infrastructure plan,” said Chow, MP for Trinity-Spadina.

Wilding also announced the board will launch a multimedia publicity campaign called Let’s Break the Gridlock to promote its recommendations.

Toronto Region Board of Trade offers suggestions for funding The Big Move

News Mar 18, 2013 by Rahul Gupta Scarborough Mirror

It’s time to stop debating and get moving on paying for transit expansion, said the president of the Toronto Region Board of Trade (TRBOT) at a press conference Monday morning.

Before an audience at the board’s downtown headquarters, including representatives from Metrolinx, Carol Wilding announced recommendations for the preferred revenue tools it claims will generate nearly $5 billion annually for transit building – more than double the $2 billion Metrolinx says is needed to pay for the bulk of its $50 billion Big Move plan

“The debate is no longer if we need new revenue tools, but which ones,” Wilding said. “To succeed, all of us will have to contribute. All levels of government, the public and the private sector.”

Compiled in a report released Monday, those tools include a one per cent regional sales tax to generate up to $1.6 billion a year; a $1 per parking space levy also raising $1.6 billion annually; a 10 cent per litre regional fuel tax bringing in as much as $840 million; and a road toll for high-occupancy lanes charged at 30 cents per kilometre for single drivers who wish to use the lanes, which would generate a maximum of $45 million annually.

All of the recommendations are dedicated specifically for transit.

The report, titled A Green Light to Moving the Toronto Region: Paying for Public Transportation Expansion, was prepared by a special cabinet of 40 stakeholders and took three years to prepare.

Government, business leaders, economics academics and public polling all contributed to its findings.

The authors also looked at successful transit funding examples from across the world and whittled down an initial list of revenue tools from 26 to four, Wilding said.

She said the recommendations were chosen because they are fair, balanced and economically responsible.

“Everybody contributes and everybody benefits,” she said.

She warned annual congestion costs to the regional economy will balloon from $6 to $15 billion by 2031 due to population growth if the Big Move is not completed.

“A lack of mobility is negatively impacting bottom lines,” she said. “It is also taking a huge financial toll on our regional economy.”

Following the announcement, Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig praised TRBOT’s recommendations, but remained coy as to whether the provincial transportation planning will incorporate them in its forthcoming funding investment strategy for the Big Move to be delivered to the sitting premier in June.

“It’s a still little bit early for us to be suggesting where we are going to be moving in terms of our final recommendations,” McCuaig told reporters. “But this an important input as we move forward in our conversations.”

He said the TRBOT’s figures could be seen as applying to all levels of government funding.

“That’s an interesting approach they’ve taken and we will be looking at that.”

Wilding acknowledged the board’s revenue projections would further debate and criticism from some circles.

But she said the recommendations were intended to further the conversation and not act as the final word on funding.

“There will be consultation and negotiation by the province, municipalities and other stakeholders, and they will ultimately decide the final recommendation,” Wilding said. “We need $2 billion for the BIg Move, and we’ve put tools forward that will get us at least that far.”

Federal MP and rumoured 2014 mayoral candidate Olivia Chow, who attended the announcement, said she hoped the federal government heard the board’s call for long-term and dedicated transit funding.

“One thing is clear that all levels of government must act and we certainly hope this Thursday’s federal budget will have a long term infrastructure plan,” said Chow, MP for Trinity-Spadina.

Wilding also announced the board will launch a multimedia publicity campaign called Let’s Break the Gridlock to promote its recommendations.

Toronto Region Board of Trade offers suggestions for funding The Big Move

News Mar 18, 2013 by Rahul Gupta Scarborough Mirror

It’s time to stop debating and get moving on paying for transit expansion, said the president of the Toronto Region Board of Trade (TRBOT) at a press conference Monday morning.

Before an audience at the board’s downtown headquarters, including representatives from Metrolinx, Carol Wilding announced recommendations for the preferred revenue tools it claims will generate nearly $5 billion annually for transit building – more than double the $2 billion Metrolinx says is needed to pay for the bulk of its $50 billion Big Move plan

“The debate is no longer if we need new revenue tools, but which ones,” Wilding said. “To succeed, all of us will have to contribute. All levels of government, the public and the private sector.”

Compiled in a report released Monday, those tools include a one per cent regional sales tax to generate up to $1.6 billion a year; a $1 per parking space levy also raising $1.6 billion annually; a 10 cent per litre regional fuel tax bringing in as much as $840 million; and a road toll for high-occupancy lanes charged at 30 cents per kilometre for single drivers who wish to use the lanes, which would generate a maximum of $45 million annually.

All of the recommendations are dedicated specifically for transit.

The report, titled A Green Light to Moving the Toronto Region: Paying for Public Transportation Expansion, was prepared by a special cabinet of 40 stakeholders and took three years to prepare.

Government, business leaders, economics academics and public polling all contributed to its findings.

The authors also looked at successful transit funding examples from across the world and whittled down an initial list of revenue tools from 26 to four, Wilding said.

She said the recommendations were chosen because they are fair, balanced and economically responsible.

“Everybody contributes and everybody benefits,” she said.

She warned annual congestion costs to the regional economy will balloon from $6 to $15 billion by 2031 due to population growth if the Big Move is not completed.

“A lack of mobility is negatively impacting bottom lines,” she said. “It is also taking a huge financial toll on our regional economy.”

Following the announcement, Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig praised TRBOT’s recommendations, but remained coy as to whether the provincial transportation planning will incorporate them in its forthcoming funding investment strategy for the Big Move to be delivered to the sitting premier in June.

“It’s a still little bit early for us to be suggesting where we are going to be moving in terms of our final recommendations,” McCuaig told reporters. “But this an important input as we move forward in our conversations.”

He said the TRBOT’s figures could be seen as applying to all levels of government funding.

“That’s an interesting approach they’ve taken and we will be looking at that.”

Wilding acknowledged the board’s revenue projections would further debate and criticism from some circles.

But she said the recommendations were intended to further the conversation and not act as the final word on funding.

“There will be consultation and negotiation by the province, municipalities and other stakeholders, and they will ultimately decide the final recommendation,” Wilding said. “We need $2 billion for the BIg Move, and we’ve put tools forward that will get us at least that far.”

Federal MP and rumoured 2014 mayoral candidate Olivia Chow, who attended the announcement, said she hoped the federal government heard the board’s call for long-term and dedicated transit funding.

“One thing is clear that all levels of government must act and we certainly hope this Thursday’s federal budget will have a long term infrastructure plan,” said Chow, MP for Trinity-Spadina.

Wilding also announced the board will launch a multimedia publicity campaign called Let’s Break the Gridlock to promote its recommendations.