Some statistics say that we lose about 32 days on average sitting in traffic. Or to put another number on it, we lose almost three and a half billion dollars a year in lost productivity traveling between our home and our place of work. So needless to say, the daily commute, when put in those terms, is a bit more than a petty annoyance in the grand scheme of things. And you know what, Ontario's mayors, including our own Karen Farbridge, want to do something about it.
The press release, which quotes Farbridge and Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, comes on the heels of a report released by Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency, that featured a shortlist of possible funding tools for increased transit options that made Rob Ford pantomime throwing up. The suggestions included development charges,fuel tax, high occupancy tolls, and parking space levies. This statement from the mayors doesn't make suggestions of their own, but be warned gridlock, they're coming for you!
Here's the press release:
Guelph, On, April 3, 2013 – The Mayors of large urban areas in Ontario are united on the need for new revenue to invest in roads and transit.
“Ending Gridlock in Ontario is our number one priority,” stated Mayor McCallion, the Chair of the Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario. “What has been done in the past is not enough, and the results are clear: overloaded transit systems, and traffic jammed highways. We need it fixed.”
Ontario’s Big City Mayors have come together in agreement that it’s time to talk about new revenue tools to address the issue of gridlock. This is not just a Greater Toronto Area issue, gridlock affects all of Ontario. Whether it’s a slowdown of goods moving from Windsor to London, Kingston to Ottawa, or the GTA to Niagara, gridlock is costing Ontario jobs and is a key priority for all cities – large and small.
The Mayors of the large urban cities in Ontario support new revenue tools that are fair and reasonable to help end Gridlock in Ontario. A number of revenue tools are likely needed to address gridlock, sharing the burden with all those with a stake in the solution. However, Ontario’s Big City Mayors do not support adding a “transit tax” to the property tax bill.
“Many Guelph residents commute to the Toronto area and lose hours stuck in traffic that could be spent with friends, family and community. Gridlock impacts on the bottom line and competitiveness of our local businesses which rely on transport for their trade or need to travel through it to get to customers or suppliers,” said Mayor Karen Farbridge. “We need to find innovative and pragmatic solutions to traffic congestion in our cities.”
As Metrolinx and ultimately the Province are faced with developing the necessary revenue to address gridlock, the Mayors of major urban areas are supportive as they seek ways of putting the brakes on gridlock.
The Large Urban Mayor’s Caucus of Ontario represents 67% of Ontario’s population. Currently there are 26 Big City Mayors with populations of over 100,000 residents. Mayor Hazel McCallion is Chair of the Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario.