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article imageToronto Councillor John Parker discusses transit, GO/Metrolinx Special

By Andrew Moran     Jan 27, 2011 in Politics
Toronto - Although it is unclear at this time if all or parts of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) will be unloaded to the Government of Ontario, city councillors are discussing the pros and cons of such a move.
Digital Journal reported Tuesday that the members and senior staff officials of Mayor Rob Ford’s team are discussing the possibility of “uploading” parts of the TTC, such as subways, to the province of Ontario.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty stated that his Liberal Party is not interested in taking over the TTC and such a move will not even be discussed until after October’s provincial election. Finance Minister Dwight Duncan also denied plans of a provincial takeover, reports CP24.
But is this a good idea or a bad idea? Don Valley West Ward 26 City Councillor John Parker spoke with DigitalJournal.com about the proposal, funding initiatives and what it could mean for the city of Toronto.
“A generation ago, all TTC operating and construction costs were financed out of the fare box and all transit operations terminated at or near the Metro Toronto border,” said Parker, who defeated candidates Jon Burnside and Mohamed Dhanani in October’s close municipal election. “Those days are long gone”
TTC Shutdown
File Photo: TTC bus
Andrew Moran
The two-term city councillor explained that the TTC relies on provincial funding for major rail service capital construction, therefore, says Parker, provincial priorities will “play a pivotal role” in any future project’s development and planning.
“Further, 905 residents make up a significant share of TTC customers,” continued Parker. “It should be clear that major transit capital investments must - or at least should - address the needs of the region as a whole. This is certainly the thinking that gave us GO and Metrolinx already.”
The Deputy Chamber Speaker stated that he is “sympathetic” to the possibility of TTC merging with GO and Metrolinx because all three steps of construction can “be consolidated under one roof.”
Councillor Parker did note, though, that bus service should be left to the control of the municipal government because it is “less capital intensive” and there is more flexibility.
“Just how the transfer of ownership and management of funding responsibilities/revenue opportunities should be structured is a matter that merits careful scrutiny before any steps are taken,” said the former Member of Provincial Parliament. “In as much as riders will transfer from mode to mode and from system to system, however, the merits of a single fare system across the region seem compelling.”
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