On the editorial pages of Toronto's newspapers, there is a great debate about how to pay for the public transit expansion Toronto and the Toronto region desperately needs. The commentary is ernest, debating the merits of tolls, sales taxes, and other so-called revenue tools. But I think the debate is misguided.
Here's a question for you: what's the only G8 country that doesn't have a national transit strategy? The free-wheeling, car-loving U.S., perhaps? Hardly. It's right here in Canada -- where we continue to operate a patchwork system of transit funding that ebbs and flows as political leaders come and go and economic conditions rise and fall.
Gridlock in the Toronto region costs the economy billions of dollars a year, harms our environment, and leaves lower income people literally sitting on the bus for hours each day. If I were advising the new Premier of Ontario today, my advice would consist of one simple statement: Get the shovels in the ground now. Build the transit lines that we already have funding for -- then speak to the people about how to pay for the remaining lines. We must seize the moment when the funding and political will exist if we are to meet the needs of our residents and businesses and overcome decades of inertia.
The latest news about potentially restricting strollers on the TTC upsets me not only as a mom, but also as a proud Torontonian, and as a fellow human being. Imagine if this stroller limit were to pass, what kind of Pandora's box would we be opening, what "inconvenience" would be next? People in wheelchairs, or on crutches? Women carrying numerous grocery bags?