The Discovery of a Transit Agenda

The Toronto Board of Trade recently issued a press release calling for a permanent national transit funding strategy.  Included in the release is a list of Ottawa’s spending promises in the GTA, although notable by its absence is comparable information for Provincial or Municipal shares in these projects.

As regular readers here will know, I have my doubts about the viability of a national funding scheme specifically because of this unpredictability and the inevitable three-way fights that arise over funding and eligibility.  If Ottawa is to be part of transit funding, I agree that this needs to be on a permanent basis and with a formula that transit agencies can rely upon to plan their long-range budgets.  Project-based funding is at the whim of day-to-day policy and politics.

Later this month, the Board of Trade has a session about Vancouver’s Transit Revolution and the wonders that innovative financing can bring.  For a more jaundiced view of the Vancouver situation, visit Stephen Rees’ blog.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Urban Institute will present Designing Transit Cities on November 19-20, 2009.  This will include a free public session in City Council Chamber on the evening of November 19, and a number of paid-entry sessions on November 20.

This program is co-sponsored by the City of Toronto, the Toronto Society of Architects, the Cities Centre at UofT, the TTC and Metrolinx.

Oddly, these “Canadian” organizations have assembled guest speakers all from the United States.  What does this say about their perception of Canadian planning?

There is supposed to be a separate website at, but it leads right back to the main CUI page with no additional info.

With two major organizations publicising the importance of transit to urban areas, I can’t help wondering how their programs, not to mention those of would-be mayoral candidates, would differ from and improve on transit plans already in place.