09/18/2013 12:31 EDT | Updated 11/18/2013 05:12 EST

Wynne says group will help evaluate transit funding

Premier Kathleen Wynne got a bird’s-eye view of the traffic congestion that plagues the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, when she took a flight over the region Wednesday morning.

The premier said the flight has reinforced her desire to improve the transit options in the region, so that people can get where they need to go.

"The way traffic is moving and the way congestion has grown over the decades, we have a responsibility to do something about that," Wynne said at a news conference.

The government has created a 13-member advisory panel, which will be chaired by Dr. Anne Golden and will consult with the public about funding suggestions that Metrolinx has put forward.

Some of those suggestions included a possible one per cent hike in HST, a regional, five-cent-a-litre gas tax and an annual business parking levy.

Metrolinx is a provincial government agency that is tasked with planning transit improvements in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

Wynne said the panel would help "take us to that next step," when it comes to improving transit in the region.

The premier said the panel members will be consulting with the public about the options Metrolinx laid out, but also consider "other possibilities." They will consider what funding options are most appropriate and also consider which are the fairest.

"We want to find a balanced way forward, that is what we’re asking this panel to do," she said.

The panel is supposed to report back to the government by mid-December.