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Transit

As you know, given the fact that almost as many people commute from Toronto, as they do going in to our city on a daily basis, I have been advocating for a regional approach to building a transit network. Implementing a regional sales tax, tolls or other tools across the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) would create new, and dependable, revenue streams paid into by everyone in our region rather than have any one city cover capital expenses through their property tax base.

 

Tolls or a regional sales tax would also offset the current burden on transit riders to pay for the preponderance of transit costs solely through the fare box. My motion for Toronto and GGH municipalities to enter into negotiations with Metrolinx (the provincially mandated transit planning body for Toronto and the GGH) was recently adopted at Executive Committee and will come to full Council in July. This motion requests the City Manager to work with Metrolinx to explore a variety of regional funding mechanisms with officials from across the GGH to move forward with a regional transit funding plan. Any funding initiative should be done on a regional basis to mitigate unintended consequences including job loss and consumer avoidance. Ultimately, we want the City of Toronto to have a leading seat at the table with its partners as Metrolinx's process moves closer to fruition.

 

Metrolinx has stated that it will deliver a $40 billion transit funding plan to support the Big Move Plan early next year that will include all the municipalities in the GGH. I believe it may be prudent to read this report, and consider a shared and regional system, before Toronto offers to assume a OneCity approach.


I will continue working with Council to create a transit funding model that delivers on the priorities that matter most to residents. Moreover, I submit that while we debate how best to expand our transit system, we must always keep in mind that addressing the current, unacceptable overcrowding on the Yonge subway line during rush hours, and state of good repair, must be our top priority while we introduce more riders to the system. The new transit lines already approved by Council, and supported by Metrolinx, are moving forward including Finch Avenue, Sheppard Avenue and the Eglinton Crosstown. These projects will be paid for by a "one-time" funding allocation from the provincial government.


Your feedback is very important to me and I will continue to keep you informed as this discussion progresses. I am committed to creating an efficient, reliable and accessible rapid transit system that helps reduce gridlock and connects our region, neighbourhoods and residents. The path we take must be both visionary and evidence-based, fully funded and fiscally responsible.

 

Ultimately, I am pleased that we are now debating how exactly we should fund transit expansion- rather than whether there's a need to have a plan at all.

Sincerely,

Josh Matlow
Toronto City Councillor
Ward 22-St.Paul's
www.joshmatlow.ca

NOTICE OF MOTION: Making the Union-Pearson Express Fare More Affordable, Competitive and Fair for Toronto Residents

NOTICE OF MOTION: Making the Union-Pearson Express Fare More Affordable, Competitive and Fair for Toronto Residents

 

Moved by:

 

Councillor Matlow

 

Seconded by:

 

Deputy Mayor Kelly

 

SUMMARY:

 

Metrolinx's Union-Pearson Express line is a welcome addition to Toronto's transit network. For too long, our city has been one of the few world centres without rapid transit to its International Airport.

 

While residents are pleased that this critical infrastructure appears to be on budget and will be ready to open for the Pan-Am games next year, they have some major concerns with emerging cost details that limit the accessibility of this line. These troubling details include potentially high fares and a fee in lieu of parking paid to the Greater Toronto Airport Authority.

 

While the passenger fare has yet to be confirmed, media reports have estimated that the new line could cost riders upwards of $30 per trip. This cost may, or may not, have an effect on business or international travelers but it would barely be competitive with taxis or limousines for residents. Common sense would dictate that if a resident living anywhere other than downtown (within close proximity to Union Station) can get picked up from their house and taken to the airport for about $50-60, they may opt to spend the extra money to avoid the additional time as the cost differential is not that substantial. Further, a couple or a family might find it actually more expensive to take the Union-Pearson Express. The passenger fare must be made accessibile for Toronto residents.

 

Another troubling consumer cost detail associated with the Union-Pearson Express is the $1.85 fee passengers are being charged for not parking at the airport. The City of Toronto and other municipal governments in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area are actively encouraging residents to use public transit. This fee would penalize air travelers for making a choice that helps fight congestion. This potential fee runs counter to our public policy goals and should not be implemented.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

 

  1. City Council directs the City Manager to request that Metrolinx the passenger fare for the Union-Pearson Express at a rate that is affordable for most Torontonians and competitive with other forms of transportation to Pearson Airport
  2. City Council directs the City Manager to request the Greater Toronto Airport Authority to not require Metrolinx to implement a $1.85 parking fee to the passenger fare for the Union-Pearson Express

You can download a printable PDF of my letter by clicking here.

 

Facts Before Financing: The Bloor-Danforth Subway Extension - A Motion for the 2014 City of Toronto Budget

Dear residents,

 

Please see the attached motion regarding financing the Bloor-Danforth subway extension in Scarborough that will be submitted to tomorrow's Budget Committee meeting for consideration. The intent of this motion is to ensure that all relevant and factual information is provided to Council before increases to our city's debt and property taxes are approved.

 

Regardless of whether or not this motion is supported at tomorrow's Budget Committee meeting, it is my intention to move this at the Special Council meeting regarding the 2014 budget in January.

 

I believe that we must move forward with Toronto's transit priorities. Before we ask residents to fund these projects, we must have complete financial information, cost certainly and all relevant planning information.

 

Sincerely,

 

Josh

   

The Crosstown: LRT ABCs and 123s

   
   

My letter to the TTC regarding their proposed shutdown of Yonge subway tracks

October 3, 2013

 

Andy Byford

CEO, Toronto Transit Commission

1900 Yonge St

Toronto ON  M4S 1Z2

 

 

 

Dear Mr. Byford,

 

 

Recently, you informed me that the TTC expects to require a temporary closure of the Yonge subway line between St. Clair and Eglinton stations at some point in the future. I appreciate this advance notice.

 

 

We all understand that the City needs to maintain and construct new infrastructure to keep the lights on, water running and, in this case, get residents to work and back. However, Torontonians expect that this work is done properly, as quickly and with as minimal a disruption to their daily lives as is possible.

 

 

Given that this closure would shut down a portion of our city's busiest transit route, it has the potential to affect thousands of transit riders including commuters from across our city and region, shoppers and tourists. It is absolutely imperative that we are fully prepared well in advance to accommodate everyone who needs to travel through and within Midtown Toronto.

 

 

I am writing to urge you to take the substantive steps necessary to keep Toronto moving. In a publicly accessible response could you please consider the following points/questions:

 

 

A) Is it necessary to shut down the tracks during operating hours and/or weekdays? Could the work be done overnight and/or on the weekend?

B) And if A) is not feasible and you can demonstrate to the public why, could the work be done in August when fewer people are working?

C) With transportation capacity significantly reduced would prioritizing shuttle buses (perhaps with shuttle bus-only lanes) ensure that riders can continue to move during this period of disruption?

 

 

The city does not have to grind to a halt during this subway closure as long as the TTC  proactively addresses the situation. I am requesting that the strategy you develop be open and transparent, incorporating feedback from Toronto residents.

 

 

I look forward to your response, and to learn more about your plans, at your earliest possible opportunity.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

 

Josh Matlow
Toronto City Councillor

Ward 22 – St. Paul’s

 

 

cc:       Karen Stintz, TTC Chair and City Councillor, Ward 16 – Eglinton-Lawrence

Stephen Buckley, General Manager, Transportation Services

   

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