Ontario's Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel Unveils Plan to Fund Transit in Toronto Region

New mix of funding sources, phased-in over time, can build the highest priority transit projects in the GTHA

TORONTO, Dec. 12, 2013 /CNW/ - The Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel today announced its recommendations to the Province on how to fund transit expansion across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). The Panel's report, Making the Move: Choices and Consequences, presents a viable, fair, and accountable strategy to fund the region's highest priority projects through a mix of new revenue, existing government revenue, and modest debt, with a dedicated fund and rigorous accountability to taxpayers.

"Our plan is simple and it works: The recommended revenue tools will lever a reasonable amount of debt to unlock the billions of dollars needed. It calls for a fair and balanced contribution from all stakeholders, without asking too much of any one group," says Anne Golden, Chair of the Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel.

The proposed funding strategy, when fully implemented, will provide for between $1.7 and $1.8 billion annually for the GTHA. Of this amount, $400 to $440 million will be distributed for local transit projects along with a two-year Kick-start Program to fund tangible, immediate improvements.

The impact on an average GTHA household from an increase in gasoline tax would be about $80 in year one, and just $260 per household after eight years.  By comparison, sitting in traffic for an additional 32 minutes every day - which has been predicted without transit expansion - could cost a driver over $700 a year.

The Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel also recommends that the Government of Ontario establish a dedicated stand-alone fund where all new revenue will be held. Projects would be monitored and tracked against spending, and results would be published to ensure accountability and transparency to taxpayers.

"We hope that the fact that 13 citizens from across the political spectrum have unanimously agreed to the recommendations in this report will give comfort and courage to the Government of Ontario to act," says Paul Bedford, Vice-Chair of the Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel.

The Panel's report, along with infographics and a video are available at www.transitpanel.ca.

About the Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel
Ontario's Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel was established by Premier Kathleen Wynne on September 18, 2013 with a mandate to advise the Province on how to respond to the Metrolinx Investment Strategy and to engage with the public to determine whether the Metrolinx recommendations are the right ones. The Panel comprises 13 citizens with diverse backgrounds who bring relevant expertise and experience from across the region.

The Panel conducted a comprehensive review and consultation process. It heard from stakeholders, the public, and business through private and public meetings, an online survey and through social media (#TransitPanel). The Panel also studied Metrolinx's proposed Investment Strategy, as well as best practices in transit globally.

For more information, please visit www.transitpanel.ca.

SOURCE Transit Investment Strategy Advisory Panel (TISAP)

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