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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


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Scarborough SRT Fact Sheet

Dear Residents,

 

There has been a lot of misinformation regarding the potential conversion of the Scarborough SRT to a subway. The facts – based on land use planning, ridership projections and a cost/benefit analysis, not votes – suggest replacing the aging Scarborough SRT with an LRT, just as was agreed upon last year when Council reached an agreement. For additional background on this current transit discussion, please read my newsletter from May 1.

 

This is a fact sheet I distributed to my colleagues and the media last night:

Scarborough SRT Fact Sheet  SRT Stats  •	The new LRT will be in a completely grade-separated right-of-way. No traffic lights. No cross streets. Widely spaced stations. •	At an average of 36km per hour It will run faster than the Yonge and Bloor-Danforth lines which average 32km per hour •	The line will have a capacity to carry 16,000 passengers per hour.  •	It is anticipated that by 2031 the LRT would carry 8,000 passengers per hour leaving it enough capacity to serve the area for many decades to come- the extra capacity offered by a subway won't come close to being needed •	The LRT would be over two kilometres longer than the subway, have four more stations and is within walking distance to over 20,000 more people- with the possibility to extend the line into Malvern  Cost Concerns  •	The $500 million cost cited to convert the SRT to a subway is false •	As TTC CEO Andy Byford confirmed today, the cost of the SRT is $1.8 billion •	The cost of the subway is estimated to cost $2.8 billion •	There is already a $1 billion difference before factoring: o	Contract cancellations with Bombardier o	Construction of new terminus for Eglinton Crosstown at Kennedy that was to be part of the Scarborough RT will could be at least $200 million o	 Sunk engineering costs o	 New design work o	 Cost efficiencies from using the same technology as on Sheppard and Eglinton o	Significant changes to maintenance and storage facility on Conlins Rd. which has almost finished RFP process o	Possible new Environmental Assessment

Click here to download this fact sheet as a PDF.

 

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TTC Downtown Relief Line study

 

Phase I of the TTC's Downtown Rapid Transit Expansion Study is now available online. Please click on the report cover above to access the study directly, or click here to visit the project website for updates as they become available.

   

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Moving Forward with The Big Move - A Downtown Relief Subway Line and a Regional Transit Plan

Earlier today, Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency, and the Minister of Transportation, Bob Chiarelli, announced that construction on the Downtown Relief Line (DRL) will be accelerated by 10 years. The DRL is desperately needed to take the pressure off the already over-crowded Yonge line. This is great news for the entire Greater Toronto Area and Ward 22 residents who routinely wait 2 or 3 trains in the morning before getting on at Eglinton, Davisville, St. Clair or Summerhill.

 

It was also announced today that a real conversation, at long last, will begin in January 2013 about how to pay for the DRL and other regional transit priorities. The public consultation will consider a variety of funding mechanisms and there will be a report on how to move forward by June of next year.

 

For a long time I have been advocating for a regional plan for transit improvement and expansion. This will better reflect how people truly move across municipal boundaries everyday and, if the entire region is to benefit from better transit, then residents from Toronto and the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area should share in the responsibility for paying for it.

 

For more information please see the Metrolinx press release regarding today's announcement.

 

Sincerely,

 

Josh

   

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Councillor Matlow on a Downtown Relief Subway line and Transit Funding Tools, October 1, 2012

   

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Exec committee asks staff to work with Metrolinx and other GTA cities on transit funding

From Openfile.ca

http://www.openfile.ca/toronto/blog/2012/exec-committee-asks-staff-work-metrolinx-and-other-gta-cities-transit-funding

 

Exec committee asks staff to work with Metrolinx and other GTA cities on transit funding

Posted by John Michael McGrath on Wednesday, June 13, 2012

 

For months now, Josh Matlow (Ward 22, St. Paul's) has been pushing for a more intelligent conversation on transit funding. Matlow, to his credit, has been willing to raise road tolls as an idea to fund transit, and yesterday had a motion before Rob Ford's Executive Committee with a request:

City Council request the City Manager to engage and participate with Metrolinx in establishing a working group of appropriate officials representing the City of Toronto, Greater Golden Horseshoe municipalities, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, the Ontario Ministry of Finance, the Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and any other relevant bodies to provide input into the preparation of a funding strategy for the Metrolinx regional transit plan.

Metrolinx's "funding strategy" is what we've all been waiting for, as the provincial transit planner figures out how to raise the billions of dollars it needs for future expansion. It also needs to raise that money without simply getting the province to pay for it, since Queen's Park has been trying to keep costs down lately.

 

Matlow's motion passed through Executive Committee yesterday and will presumably be approved by City Council in July. Somewhat surprisingly, the Mayor's team even shot down a motion by Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34, Don Valley East) that would have excluded any sales tax, as well as any road tolls that were not applied regionally, from staff consideration.

 

Since a sales tax is one of the most important tools to funding transit in other cities, it would have been silly to try to start a working group by ruling it out at the very beginning. At the very least it should at least be looked at.

 

Road tolls, however, don't have a lot of political backers, at least when we're talking about adding new ones to existing roads. Minnan-Wong's move may very well be redundant on that count.

 

image via Metrolinx.

   

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