Metrolinx Chair Goes Part Time

The following press release came out today:

MacIsaac to become part time Metrolinx chair following release of final report

TORONTO, Nov. 6 /CNW/ –


Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology in Hamilton has announced that Rob MacIsaac has been selected as its new president starting February 1, 2009.

MacIsaac will continue his work as Metrolinx board chair on a part time basis.

Since 2006, MacIsaac has built a team to get the regional transportation agency up and running, and to develop a Regional Transportation Plan and Investment Strategy for a seamless and convenient transportation network for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. The final plan is expected to be released before the end of the year.


“I would like to thank Rob for the outstanding success he is achieving in establishing Metrolinx. His vision and leadership is instrumental in working with area elected officials to develop the first Regional Transportation Plan for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. I am pleased that Rob will continue to lead a dedicated team that will continue to deliver,” said Transportation Minister Jim Bradley.

My own take on this is that Metrolinx needs full-time leadership from someone who is dedicated to making the process of building our transportation network truly open.

Too much of Metrolinx’ work has been shrouded in secrecy with critical studies kept from public view.  The massive spending required to overcome decades of neglect, the trade-offs and the need for political and public support demand transparency.  Everyone must trust that the spending is wise and appropriate to the task, and that decisions are made on public needs, not on deals between politicians and lobbyists. 

Decisions may be made out of sight with the best of intentions, but without public understanding and trust, they will be vulnerable.  Metrolinx needs to learn how to have full public debates about the merits of various schemes, and keep the “commercially confidential” stuff separate from the basic question of building our regional network.

The November Board meeting, when Metrolinx is expected to approve a final version of the Regional Transportation Plan, will be interesting indeed.