Groups across multiple sectors call out Metrolinx for lack of evidence-based decision-making, demand accountability in transportation planning

Toronto, Ont. – Political games at the riding and ward levels are among the reasons delaying implementation of the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). As a result, not enough has been done to reduce traffic congestion and provide residents with greater travel options for getting around the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). 12 organizations including environment, health, and transportation groups representing hundreds of thousands of Ontarians sent a letter with six recommendations (link below) to Metrolinx as part of the review of the RTP. The groups are seeking increased accountability; more evidence and less politics in transit decision-making; full funding for public transit; and to reduce traffic congestion and provide more healthy travel options.

One of the groups’ main concerns is around basing transit planning decisions on evidence, not politics. “Cases like the Scarborough subway extension and proposed new GO stations in Toronto and Vaughan have been sullied by excessive political interference,” said Peter Miasek of Transport Action Ontario. “It is time to make decision-making more transparent and accountable.”

The region will grow to an estimated 9.6 million people by 2041. The groups call for more revenue tools and a fully funded public transit system in order to meet the needs of a growing population. At current funding levels, the dollars will not meet the need for public transit services. “If we fail to make this a funding priority, the inevitable result will be more congestion, more pollution and more disease. Providing citizens of large urban centres with accessible transportation options is good public policy and good business,” said Dr. Doris Grinspun of Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO).

Dense urban areas need transit to reduce congestion and transit needs dense urban areas to ensure ridership can sustain ongoing operations. “Put public transit where it’s most needed,” said Tim Gray of Environmental Defence. “People need to have more options for getting home and to work in our cities. With transportation being the largest source of carbon pollution, we need to provide clean travel options to get people out of their cars.”

The organizations involved include: Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), Clean Air Partnership, David Suzuki Foundation, Environmental Defence, Evergreen, Fight Gridlock in Brampton, Green Communities Canada, Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO), The Atmospheric Fund, Toronto Centre for Active Transportation, Toronto Environmental Alliance, and Transport Action Ontario. Together, these groups represent the voices of hundreds of thousands of Ontarians.
To read the full letter and all six recommendations, please visit: https://environmentaldefence.ca/metrolinx-regional-transportation-plan-review-letter/

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Stephanie Kohls, Environmental Defence, skohls@environmentaldefence.ca, 416-323-9521 ext. 232 (work), 416-885-7847 (cell)