Premier Transit Problem – by Patricia Sinclair

February 22, 2012

Open Letter to the Premier of Ontario

Dear Mr. McGuinty,
We all know the cost of gridlock per annum, the gross size of our provincial deficit, debt, interest on the debt and the global economic situation.  Anyone over the age of thirty in Ontario bears witness to our all-round, overall decline.  Torontonians have been particularly hard hit.

Many economic experts believe we are approaching financial collapse; recent Statistics Canada figures and the Drummond Report lend support to this stance.  In the Auditor General’s 2011 Pre-election Report, he stated that many of the estimates for program expenses given by your government were optimistic and aggressive rather than cautious.  If Ontario is to rebound our government needs to be guarded and focused on value for money.

This raises concern over the $8.4 Billion your government is determined to spend on light rail here in Toronto.

There are few who will argue that we should not spend large sums of money, even deficit money, on improving our transit infrastructure.   In today’s economic climate it is especially important to ensure our tax monies are wisely spent and result in the greatest rewards.  This requires evidence based information, accountability and transparency.

Public transport must serve the competing demands of patronage and coverage because the two values push service design in opposite directions.  Patronage focuses on the economic and environmental while coverage on providing services to those who need it the most regardless of profit or the level of patronage.  Balancing economic, environmental, and equity goals of transit plans is a complex and challenging process.

The attached report is an examination of some key facts which will explain why the Eglinton Crosstown is set to become a financial burden and a transit disaster.

We also present a basic subway transit plan which takes into consideration:
– The location of current and potential transit users and where they need to go;
– Toronto’s unique, cost efficient and effective, feeder bus system;
– The need to build a continuous rapid transit network system;
– Financial constraints and development opportunities that can aid financing.

No doubt Mr. McGuinty you understand that strategic misrepresentation amounts to fraud.  Spending $8.4 Billion on a transit plan that won’t benefit a critical mass of transit users; aid in reducing gridlock or increase development opportunities, etc. will be detrimental to our beleaguered economy.

Unfortunately, recent history indicates that unless the ‘investigative story’ makes its way onto the front page of the Toronto Star, your government dismisses the facts and blatantly wastes Ontarians’ tax dollars.

Leadership is doing the right things.  We look to you as Premier to get the GTA back on the right track.

Patricia Sinclair
Real Torontonians Dig Subways

(You can also download the above mentioned “Premier Transit Problem” report here)

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