Op-Ed by John Tory
It is often said that Toronto is at a turning point when it comes to transportation. In fact, this is not a turning point. We have reached a crisis point. It is a crisis not just of traffic congestion — though it certainly is that. It is also a crisis of decision-making.
The only way forward is for the citizens of this city region to fully engage with the reality of this crisis. That will require not just more discussion, but honest discussion. The people of the Greater Toronto region have heard too many competing plans and visions for transportation, with real results few and far between. They have every right to be confused and frustrated. They need more information, honest answers and frank discussion.
With proposals, roadmaps and vision statements coming at them from every which way — most to never be heard of again — perhaps the only thing that the people of the Toronto region have heard loud and clear is the severe shortage of rational, productive discussion. There are many plans, but no long-term strategies. There are a few transit projects underway, but no agreement as to what should come next. Even when we are able to come up with a workable plan, such as Metrolinx’s The Big Move, there is inadequate money to fund it.
The absence of frank discussion and long-range planning is totally unacceptable. Toronto has a transit deficit that is measured in decades. And in the absence of more funded projects across the region, we won’t even be able to keep up with the projected growth in the GTHA. This failure is unfair to the people of this great city region.
The only real question is how we will pay for all these things, and many others. There can be no ignoring the fact that the Toronto region needs literally billions of dollars for transit, and needs them now. Any further delay doesn’t just take away from our quality of life, it threatens our economy, and jeopardizes our ongoing efforts to make Toronto the fairest, most prosperous city in the world. There is no excuse for this, and we cannot let it continue.
Read the full Op-Ed here.