Today’s Metrolinx board meeting actually produced some interesting debate about the draft white papers for the Regional Transportation Plan. There was little discussion of the Goals & Objectives paper, but the Preliminary Directions & Concepts really got people going.
Two items attracted particular interest.
First, how are we going to pay for everything? The options listed in the White Paper do not include some rather obvious options such as a higher gas tax and or a regional sales tax. The boldest of the bold plans will cost close to $4-billion annually in capital costs and a comparable amount in operating costs. At that level, I think we can reasonably assume that naming rights will not raise the money we need.
There is a separate Investment Strategy paper that will be published concurrently with the Draft Regional Transportation Plan in early July, and it will address the financial issues.
Second, David Miller led off a critique of the White Papers noting that the option of not building more roads was completely absent. Indeed, the authors assume that since all of the road projects for the forseeable future are funded, one way or another, these should be assumed as part of the base plan. This is a strange state of affairs for an organization that recognizes, quite strongly, that the problems of the GTAH will not be solved by road building. Continue reading