Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Promise to spend $17.5B on transit can’t be trusted without legislation: report

with 3 comments

January 28, 2008 – 15:47

TORONTO – A new report warns that a government promise to spend $17.5 billion on public transit can’t be trusted without legislation to guarantee the funding.

The report commissioned by the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario also says the MoveOntario 2020 plan is based more on political considerations than on need or cost effectiveness.

One again Dick Soberman points out the flaws in a seemingly positive plan. Just as in BC, Onatrio has been making lavish promises of more transit. There’s an election coming up there too.

Author Richard Soberman says the government’s blueprint to launch 52 transit projects is an example of top-down planning, and a reversal of the typical approach.

He says professional advisers should have been the ones determine the best way to reshape the province’s public transit.

Which of course applies equally here. Except here we also have to add a rider that the professional advisers should actually know something about transit. Unlike the “professional advisers” who now sit on the SoCoBriTCA. Or the people appointed to oversee the two last extension sof our rail rapid transit network. Leicia Stewart and Jane Bird could hardly have been called qualified when they were told to build the Millennium and Canada lines respectively – though both learned fast on the job – but then they had to.

At least unlike Kevin Falcon they both appeared to me to listen to some of the very smart people around them. But then neither were elected politicians either. But both were working for governments that had decided to proceed with major projects before any analysis had been done. Such studies as were done were after the event justifications for done deals. Which appears to be the way we do things here.

And as I think I have written here, and fairly recently at that, Ontario has seen this kind of promise not delivered too.

No wonder this blog keeps repeating itself. Our governments continue to repeat the same mistakes – and expect a different outcome.



Written by Stephen Rees

January 28, 2008 at 2:19 pm

Posted in Transportation

3 Responses

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  1. I was lucky enough to be asked to sit on one of the advisory committees who will recommend how to spend the $17.5 billion, and I feel that this report is overtly alarmist. I am young and inexperienced in the political game, but I do get the sense that the only thing which will stop the momentum of MoveOntario 2020 is a political crisis of unimaginable proportions.

    Of course, I do have a vested interest in seeing the work I’m doing come to fruition. For that reason I would gladly welcome legislation – I just fear that this report adds to the cynicism many people have these days.

    Andrae Griffith

    January 28, 2008 at 3:54 pm

  2. I heard you on CBC. Nicely done.


    January 28, 2008 at 3:56 pm

  3. Andrae – I am not against transit expansion. I am just doubtful about the commitment that the Onatrio announcement represents – and evn more cynical about the BC one

    Sungsu – thanks. It seemed very brief to me!

    Stephen Rees

    January 28, 2008 at 4:05 pm

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