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Toronto trade board proposes super body to oversee regional transit

DCN News Services
Toronto trade board proposes super body to oversee regional transit

TORONTO — The Toronto Region Board of Trade has proposed the creation of a single provincial body that would co-ordinate transit planning, construction, operations and real estate commercialization across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton region and Waterloo region.

The new body, dubbed Superlinx by the board in a Nov. 27 media statement, would take over 11 transit operations and “generate significant benefits for riders, taxpayers and municipalities,” the statement indicated.

The board said its strategy is a response to Metrolinx’s Draft Regional Transportation Plan.

The board argued its proposal would:

  • create a unified platform, enabling better innovation and smart technologies;
  • build transit lines and service better and faster than is currently possible;
  • produce enhanced cross-boundary services, particularly at the Toronto border;
  • offer better integration of schedules and timetables;
  • deliver a single integrated fare model for the Toronto-Waterloo corridor;
  • maximize land use for housing, commercial and public services; and
  • lead to less time and money wasted on politicization and intergovernmental conflict.

“Municipalities have significant state of good repair backlogs and a long list of unfunded transit priorities,” said Jan De Silva, president and CEO of the Board of Trade in the statement.

“The board’s proposal will take the pressure off municipalities while ensuring the province has the authority to maximize its investments and get transit built. We’ve spent 20 years talking about moving money to transit, it’s time we move transit to the money.”

The statement suggested all transit assets, debts, future capital costs and operations should be uploaded to the province, “which has growth revenues and no legal limits on capital debt.

“Some property tax revenue would also be swapped to Superlinx to support the transition. In the scenario, the upload delivers tens of millions in tax room to finance affordable housing, road repairs or other infrastructure.”

The board said the proposal would result in savings of $93.3 million for Toronto (plus release from more than $15 billion in unfunded capital liability), $7.4 million for Hamilton and $13 million for York Region.

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