Should Ontario take over the transit systems of all cities?

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Most Torontonians would roll their eyes at the suggestion that the province take over the running of not just the TTC but transit systems of all cities in Ontario, but the Toronto Region Board of Trade thinks otherwise.

In a report released Monday, the business advocacy group argues municipalities in the Toronto-Waterloo corridor should upload the entirety of their public transit systems to a powerful provincial body.

It agrees with the Ontario Progressive Conservative election platform which pledges to take over the TTC subway system except for the bus and streetcar network which could remain under its current local management.

However, the board’s proposal goads politicians into mulling the option of micromanaging transit systems of all cities through yet another large bureaucracy managed by Queen’s Park.

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The report’s authors believe consolidating the planning, construction and operation of transit into a single provincial body would help transit riders and municipal governments immensely by getting rid of politics and letting municipalities run other services in the city.

Including GO Transit, there are 12 separate transit operators between Durham and Waterloo.

This new organization has even been given a nickname- Superlinx and is hailed as the answer to all current and future transit woes.

This exhaustive report provides the blueprint on how Superlinx could run. For one it would bring in more business leaders and transit experts who would be nominated independently and be able to function without the usual political interference. Theoretically, such a system would allow for speedy decisions and red-tapism that tends to delay or derail such complex plans.

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About one-third of the board would consist of municipal and provincial appointees, while the remaining members would be Superlinx executives.

Superlinx would be responsible for paying for the region’s transit operations and state of good repair bills, which cost $3.4 billion annually.

For now, this seems more like a fantasy plan that sounds great on paper and will be a source of discussion for years to come until the next best idea comes along. – CINEWS

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