A strategic approach to Ontario's transportation needs
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC)’s transportation report, Moving Forward: Towards A Strategic Approach to Ontario’s Transportation Needs (Part I), calls on the Ontario Government to develop a Long-Term Transportation Plan. The report highlights three areas of opportunity that will help address the current and future transportation needs of the province and improve the movement of goods and mobility of Ontarians.
In a recent OCC survey, 58 percent of Ontario businesses rated existing transportation infrastructure as fair or poor. With much of the existing infrastructure in Ontario built in the 1950s and 1960s and nearing the end of its useful life, the OCC recognizes that the costs of investment are high, and Ontario is far behind when it comes to building new and maintaining old infrastructure.
This report is not an exhaustive review of all transportation modes and regional needs across the province. Instead, we cover three strategic and pertinent topics, both short and long-term in scope, for the provincial government’s consideration. The three areas of opportunity contained in this report centre on:
Transit planning governance
Moving people and goods by rail
- Unlock Metrolinx’s potential to improve integration between regional transit services in the GTHA, and more effectively manage transportation infrastructure.
- Develop a multi-modal transit hub at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
- Conduct a review of transportation assets and limitations in Northern Ontario to determine how mobility in this region can be immediately improved.
- Support municipal governments as they develop innovative solutions to address transit challenges.
- Establish Transportation Ontario, an independent, province-wide transportation planning authority that would advise the Ministry of Transportation and support regional transit agencies.
- Develop a 30 to 50-year Long-Range Transportation Plan.
- Develop a goods movement convenor framework that engages municipalities, the freight industry, relevant provincial Ministries, and the federal government where appropriate.
- Invest in state-of-the-art technology such as CBTC to address immediate capacity concerns on the TTC subway network.
- Prioritize investments with the greatest potential to provide a strong return on investment via economic growth.
- Partner with the Canada Infrastructure Bank to secure funding for critical rail projects in both Northern and Southern Ontario.
- Regularly review and update the existing AV pilot regulatory framework and evaluate existing legislation to determine if AV-relevant modernization is required.
- Anticipate Ontario’s AV future within the province’s upcoming Long-Term Infrastructure Plan.
- As the current Canadian leader in this space, the Government of Ontario should encourage the federal government to act on AV readiness.