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.

12 thoughts on “Metrolinx Chair Goes Part Time

  1. Hey, if there is a President of Metrolinx, then Mr. MacIsaac can easily work part time – as chair, his only “real” duties are at a Board meeting. Anyway, many people can work as directors of several corporations.

    Steve: The question is this: who is minding the store? The whole Metrolinx process is intensely political, and it involves having a public face, not just a bunch of staff beavering away on plans. Rob MacIsaac has been that face for several months. He has been far more than a chairman who drops in now and then to run a board meeting.


  2. Rob MacIsaac is a very smart man. It’s pretty obvious by now that the only thing that will come out of Metrolinx is that document — so he’s moving on … gradually.


  3. Not a great omen.

    Mind you, the TTC Chair is only part-time.

    Steve: Yes, but Adam Giambrone spends the rest of his time as a member of Council and is representing the Commission’s interest in all of its work.


  4. Too bad that David Gunn is retired and living in Cape Breton.

    Then again, he come out of retirement and become Secretary of Transportation for President-elect Obama. Let’s see Chair of Metrolinx or Secretary of Transportation, though choice.


  5. Ridiculous.

    I hope this doesn’t mean that he’ll just half ass the job as chairman the rest of the way. The last thing we need is a “part-time” regional transportation plan.

    *roll eyes*


  6. Justin, welcome to the dark side!

    I’ve been suspecting that Metrolinx is a sham all along to lull us into thinking that the current government plans to do something about public transit. Just like all the fabulous improvements in health care!

    The only way this will ever be accountable is if the head of Metrolinx is a Deputy Minister in either Municipal Affairs or Transportation reporting to directly to the Minister and the Legislative Assembly.

    Once the opposition can ask questions about what they’re doing it might just make a difference. Or may be not!


  7. The opposition being able to ask questions or not at Queen’s Park would have zero impact on anything given the overwhelming majority the Liberals currently hold under McGuinty until 2011.


  8. This implies that the “work” is done; and yes, the “fixes” may be in. These will be for 905ers to bolster the McGuinty government at election time, hence the pressures to have “shovels in the ground” now.
    The role of existing transit-supportive areas like Toronto is to help pay for a chunk of it all, compliantly, and we can call their plans for boosting suburban service whilst doing near-zilch for the core Transit City, not Transit Suburbs.

    Or maybe there’s just going to be a set of money hassles that mean much less of it will actually happen. The money hassles might be good news if we do wish to perhaps save a couple hundred million maybe with a different WWLRT…

    and not even the local Front St. either!


  9. Why am I not surprised. Next the economy will be blamed and the only improvements are an updated shelve in the archives.


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