Rock to Road

News
New Cost Sourcing Recommended in Transportation Study


January 29, 2013
By Marketwire

January
29, 2013, Toronto, Ont. – How to increase investments in our road and public
transit networks in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area must be urgently
addressed.

January
29, 2013, Toronto, Ont. – How to increase investments in our road and public
transit networks in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area must be urgently
addressed.

 

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Within
the GTHA, Metrolinx has identified an estimated $50 billion worth of capital
for planned projects and more funds are required to operate and maintain the
improved systems. New sources of revenue are needed.

 

These
findings come from the report entitled, "Financing Roads and Public
Transit in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area". It was prepared for the
Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario, written by Harry
Kitchen, Professor in the Department of Economics at Trent University and Robin
Lindsey, Professor in the Sauder School of Business at University of British
Columbia.

 

"The
GTHA is Canada's economic powerhouse but this position will slip if traffic
congestion is not properly managed through better pricing structures. Unless
significant revenues are devoted to infrastructure improvements, it will
negatively impact the potential of this region," says Kitchen.

 

Among
Kitchen and Lindsey's recommendations:

 

  Introduce road tolls on the 400 series of
highways in the GTHA and perhaps other major regional and municipal
roads. Pricing can influence travel choices, such as frequency,
destination, time of day or day or week and route that have proved successful
in many U.S. states and European countries.

   

  Set correctly structured prices for public
transit and roads in the GTHA. User fees need to be expanded. Road
tolls, more efficient parking fees and other road-user charges should be
implemented. Public transit
fares should be restructured to take
distance traveled into effect with the use of a system such as 'Presto', being
phased in by Metrolinx.

   

  Consideration should be given to implementing
a regional fuel tax and/or a vehicle levy and/or a regional sales tax
in the GTHA.

   

  Restructure on-street and off-street parking
fees to support more efficient use of parking spaces. Currently,
on-street parking in high-traffic areas is priced below its value and
privately owned lots are sometimes-overpriced, hence, commercial
parking sales taxes and levies should be introduced.

 

"Professors
Kitchen and Lindsey have taken an objective look at various funding options.
While there is no silver bullet, there are a number of scenarios to raise the
funds necessary to properly expand transit throughout the region," said
Andy Manahan, Executive Director of the RCCAO.

 

"What
is worthwhile to note," adds Manahan, "Is that new Premier Kathleen
Wynne has already stated that in order to expand transportation infrastructure
we will have to adopt some of these new funding tools."

 

The RCCAO
is an alliance composed of management and labour groups that represent all
facets of the construction industry. Its goal is to work in cooperation with
governments and related stakeholders to offer realistic solutions to a variety
of challenges facing the construction industry. This is the fourth report that
RCCAO has commissioned on public transit in the GTHA since 2006 and is a
follow-up to the January 2008 report by Harry Kitchen on "Financing Public
Transit and Transportation in the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton: Future
Initiatives".