The Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA)’s transportation network had been consistently underfunded for decades, and the resulting congestion has reached a crisis point.
We have among the worst commute times on the continent – an average of 82 minutes/day from home to work and back again – longer than 18 other major international cities, including Los Angeles. By 2031, three million more people are expected to call the GTHA home along with an additional 1.5 million cars on the roads – a 50% increase in both.
The regional transportation agency Metrolinx has an approved 25-year plan called The Big Move that will connect the GTHA like never before. The plan will deliver a seamless, integrated transportation grid across municipal boundaries from Hamilton to Newmarket to Oshawa and across the core of Toronto.
But there is a capital funding gap of $28.8 billion to finish building the rapid transit projects in The Big Move. Equally challenging is that no money has been planned for or set aside to operate, maintain and rehabilitate this rapid transit network once it is built.
From 2012-2014, CivicAction built public and political support for a better regional transportation system and the need for new sustainable ways to pay for it through the Your32 campaign – a public marketing campaign that engaged politicians, civic leaders and the public in what a better commute means to them, and what they are willing to do to make it happen.
To help us in this work, CivicAction recruited an impressive roster of rising and senior leaders from business, not for profit, labour, academic, and community organizations to champion the need for a better transportation network and the means to pay for it. The members of our Champions Council were motivated by the major obstacles they faced in moving their people and goods across the GTHA. The group’s reach collectively represented more than three million employees, students, customers, and members across our region.
Half of all elected officials from across the GTHA, levels of government and party lines joined thousands of residents signed the Pledge to Get a Move On to show their support for greater investment in our regional transportation system.
The Ontario government made an historic, dedicated investment in regional transportation of $16+ billion for the GTHA in the 2014 and 2015 budgets.
The federal government made a $60 billion commitment to infrastructure over 10 years in the 2016 budget, with $20 billion allocated to public transit projects across the country.