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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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Eglinton Crosstown Community Consultation Meeting Presentation Slides

Please click here to view the presentation slides from the Community Consultation Meetings that took place May 17, 22, and 24, 2012.

 

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All options open on funding transit

June 13, 2012


Rob Ford’s allies would not take a sales tax or Toronto specific road tolls dedicated to building transit off the table, restrictions that the mayor himself supported.

 

On Tuesday, the executive committee endorsed a motion by Councillor Josh Matlow that directs the city manager to set up a working group with Metrolinx, neighbouring municipalities, the province and others to give input on potential revenue tools for transit expansion.

 

Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong moved a motion that any funding strategy exclude a sales tax and road tolls that are not applied on a regional basis.

 

Read more: All options open on funding transit

   

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Next steps for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT

Dear Residents,

 

This month, if you're a Ward 22 resident living in a neighbourhood south of Eglinton Avenue, I'll be coming to your door to speak with you directly about the upcoming construction of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT- an exciting project that will run underground through midtown and connect our community to the rest of the city. As your local city councillor, I want to ensure that you are informed and engaged in this process.

 

While a new Eglinton Avenue rapid transit line will be a remarkable asset to our community and city, to be candid, like any construction project I expect there will be some challenges. While most of the tunnel boring work will not affect at-grade activities, at intersections where the new underground stations will be built, there will be cuts to the street and some temporary lane closures. To simply put it, there will be frustrating periods for all of us during construction.

 

To avoid increased lane closures and traffic disruptions, the TTC property (former bus depot) near the southwest corner of Yonge and Eglinton will be used as an off-street staging ground. After The Crosstown construction is completed, this site will be redeveloped and will include a new public square. In the meantime, I’ve asked the TTC for some aesthetic improvements to the periphery of the site- it’s been left as a derelict eyesore for far too many years.

 

Please be assured that I will be working closely with our community and the Eglinton Way Business Improvement Area in an effort to mitigate adverse construction impacts of the work being underground and at the station locations. There must be a plan to support local businesses and to assist local residents when they need immediate questions answered.

 

I'd like to share with you some information from Metrolinx and the TTC about The Crosstown, to give you a sense of what you can expect.

 

Construction of The Crosstown has already begun and the tunneling from Black Creek Drive to Laird Drive is scheduled to begin this summer. The entire line will run from Jane Street to Kennedy Road, a distance of 25km, and riders will be able to transfer to the Yonge/University/ Spadina subway at Eglinton and Eglinton West stations and at Kennedy station riders will be able to connect to the Scarborough RT, the Bloor/Danforth subway, and the GO train. The Crosstown is scheduled to be operational in 2020.

 

There will be twenty-six stations along The Crosstown, including stops at Bathurst, Chaplin, Avenue, Eglinton and Bayview. Metrolinx and the TTC are in the preliminary design stage for Chaplin Station and it is important to them to get your feedback before the architectural design theme is finalized. There is an online survey available at The Crosstown website (listed below) which is available until May 9, 2012. There will also be a wider consultation meeting about The Crosstown on May 24 (see meeting notice below). Construction work related to tunnelling is scheduled to begin at Chaplin in late 2013. The station itself will begin construction in 2015.

 

 

Detailed information on The Crosstown can be found at the project's website: www.thecrosstown.ca. As well, you can contact Metrolinx, the provincial organization responsible for the project, at 416.874.5900 and the TTC at 416.393.3030, and visit their websites at www.metrolinx.ca and www.ttc.ca.

 

Together, we were successful at ensuring The Crosstown would be built. This line will help connect our city and relieve overcrowding on the current subway line. It is a project, in my opinion, which is frankly a generation overdue.

 

However, now that the project has begun, we must challenge Metrolinx and the TTC to do it well - on time, within budget, and working closely with local residents and businesses and to learn from past mistakes.

 

Sincerely,

 

Josh

 

 


 

 

Over the next two years, the City of Toronto will undertake a comprehensive planning study of the Eglinton Avenue corridor to create a community-led vision that will help to anticipate future growth and redevelopment along the corridor resulting from the Crosstown line.  The study is being led by City Planning staff and will be completed with the financial support of Metrolinx, the regional transportation agency of the Province of Ontario.

 

Further information on the planning study can also be obtained by visiting the City’s website at www.toronto.ca/eglinton. Be sure to check this website often for news and coming events.  For general information on the transit project, visit www.thecrosstown.ca.

   

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Moving Forward: Improving Public Transit and Relieving Traffic Congestion through a Regional Funding Strategy

Dear Residents,

 

To fund the expansion and improvement of public transportation and relieve traffic congestion for Toronto and the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH), it is imperative to move forward with a regional funding strategy.

 

Our transit needs are too urgent to continue relying on one-time provincial funding. Gridlock has become so severe that the status quo, traffic congestion that costs the GGH $6 billion a year and which has an adverse impact on our residents' quality of life, is unacceptable.

 

As we move forward with improving public transit for residents, we need to continue expanding our rapid transit system, including a connection with Toronto Pearson International Airport, relief subway lines to help ease the burden on the already overcrowded Yonge-University-Spadina subway line, priorities from across the City of Toronto and support state of good repair. Together, we must also reflect the transit needs of residents, including commuters, in Toronto and across the GGH region.

 

Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency, is currently preparing a funding strategy for their regional transit plan, The Big Move. There are a variety of funding mechanisms that may be considered including the feasibility of implementing road tolls or a regional sales tax dedicated to transit priorities.

 

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 achieve these aims. 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.

 

Cities like New York already have regional transit authorities that have the ability to raise revenue to support their transit systems. Of course, if we as a city are satisfied with the status quo, a conversation about realistic ways to fund transit projects won't be necessary.

 

However, if we truly want a faster, reliable and more accessible public transportation system, we must have the courage to finally create a realistic way to fund it.

 

Sincerely,

 

Josh

   

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