The recent announcement by the federal government that it will fund Toronto's subway system is not good news for Canada. It means more of the same style of infrastructure funding we have always had. Instead of predictable, reliable and rules based projects, Canada is riddled with a mish mash of almost completed and almost dead projects politicians pick and choose to save (or not).
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.
Public transit riders in Toronto have been coming face-to-face with farm animals thanks to an ad campaign that asks "Why love one but eat the other?" We expected strong reactions to the campaign and we got them.
There are thousands of commuters pouring into the city every day, and I suspect many of them would vie for public transit if it were accessible, reliable and seamless. But initiatives always seem to get shelved for the same reasons -- there's no funding, or one level of government points to another as the unwilling partner.