Governments alone can't solve regional transportation crisis

'Let's move,' say business, labour, community leaders

TORONTO, July 13, 2012 /CNW/ - Twenty-seven leaders have stepped forward as the first wave of Regional Transportation Champions today, joining the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance to give people a say on what a better transportation system means to them, and what they're willing to do to make it better.

The group's reach is broad, collectively representing over 2 million employees, students, customers, and members across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).

"We need to move people and goods quickly and easily for our region to be a great place to live, work, play and invest, and yet we're decades behind in making that happen," said John Tory, Chair of CivicAction. "Everyone agrees we have a crisis on our hands. We want to give residents a way to say, 'we need a better system, and we need to find sustainable ways to pay for it'."

Campaign this fall: CivicAction, together with its Regional Transportation Champions Council, will launch a campaign this fall to kick-start a region-wide conversation.  The campaign will invite people to share why transportation is important to them, and what they are willing to do about it. Everyone needs to be part of the discussion - transit and road users, taxpayers, and residents and organizations in all GTHA municipalities.

The Regional Transportation Champions are motivated by the major obstacles they face in moving their people and goods across the GTHA, and come from business, not for profit, labour, and community organizations (see list below). During the campaign, they will take this conversation to their communities through in-person and online forums, and CivicAction will bring the consensus back to governments on what matters to people, and what actions they want governments to take to invest in a better system.

"We're a region that's growing and should be on the move, but we're stuck in neutral," said Mitzie Hunter, CEO of CivicAction. "It's hampering our business productivity, the health of our neighbourhoods, easy access to jobs and schools, and our everyday quality of life. It's time to get moving faster."

Provincial agency Metrolinx will submit an Investment Strategy to the province and region's municipal governments by no later than June 1, 2013 with its recommendations on how to pay for an improved network to serve the GTHA. For governments to act boldly, they'll need to see that the region's leaders and residents support greater investment in our regional transportation system, and agree that governments need sustainable ways to pay for it, says Hunter.

Calling for Local Champions: CivicAction is calling for other leaders to join the campaign when it launches in the fall. The campaign will take place alongside efforts by Toronto Board of Trade, CivicAction's Emerging Leaders Network's Move Me! group, and other organizations to give residents a voice in moving governments to act. Leaders interested in taking the conversation out to their communities can sign up at http://www.civicaction.ca/regional-transportation

Here is the first wave of Regional Transportation Champions Council members:

Paul Bedford, Adjunct Professor, Urban & Regional Planning, University of Toronto and Ryerson University
Joe Berridge, Founding Partner, Urban Strategies
Gerald Butts, President and CEO, WWF Canada
Michael Cooper, Chief Executive Officer and Vice-Chairman, Dundee REIT
David Crombie, President, David Crombie & Associates
Patrick Dillon, Business Manager, Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario
Kirk Dudtschak, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Human Resources, Canadian Banking, RBC
Howard Eng, President & CEO, Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA)
Phillip Haid, Co-Founder and CEO, Public Inc.
Abdul Hai Patel, Director - Interfaith and External Relations, Canadian Council of Imams
Mitzie Hunter, Chief Executive Officer, Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance
Blake Hutcheson, President and CEO, Oxford Properties
Duncan Jackman, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, E-L Financial Corporation
Faye Lyons, Executive Director, CAA South Central Ontario
Rob MacIsaac, President, Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology
Yohan Mahimwala, CivicAction Emerging Leaders Network member
Graeme McKay, Vice-President, Ontario Government, Healthcare & Higher Education, IBM Canada
Tim McTiernan, President and Vice Chancellor, University of Ontario Institute of Technology
Peter Menkes, President, Commercial/Industrial, Menkes Developments
David Naylor, President, University of Toronto
Mike Pedersen, Group Head, Wealth Management, Insurance & Corporate Shared Services, TD Bank Group
Paulette Senior, CEO, YWCA Canada
John Sullivan, President and CEO, Cadillac Fairview Corporation
Frank Techar, President and CEO, Personal and Commercial Banking Canada, BMO Bank of Montreal
Warren Thomson, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer, Manulife Financial
John Tory, Chair, Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance
Mark Tullis, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Intact Financial
Carol Wilding, President and CEO, Toronto Board of Trade
Eva Wong Scanlan, Co-Chair, Toronto Homecoming and CivicAction Emerging Leaders Network member

Quotes from Regional Transportation Champions Council Members:

"Effective and integrated regional transportation is a key priority for CAA South Central Ontario's (CAASCO) 1.8 million members. A regional solution is required to address the issues in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, and CAASCO looks forward towards a funded, integrated regional transportation plan," says Faye Lyons, Executive Director, CAA South Central Ontario.

"We all know there is a problem here with transportation and gridlock, though we would like it better if there weren't.  An affordable transportation system - we'd all like that," said Michael Cooper, Chief Executive Officer and Vice-Chairman, Dundee REIT.

"Traffic is bad and unpredictable and I understand there are no free or easy solutions. But I believe it's a worthwhile and necessary investment for us to make now for our families and our communities. Somehow, while the world has become a smaller place, our region has become bigger and harder to navigate," says Eva Wong Scanlan, Co-Chair of Toronto Homecoming and member of CivicAction's Emerging Leaders Network.

"Ontario's trades people have built the region that we have now. They are ready and eager to build the next generation of transportation infrastructure that our growing city-region needs," says Patrick Dillon, Business Manager, Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario.


About CivicAction
The Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance convenes civic leaders from across all sectors and the region to catalyze change on the tough issues and big opportunities facing the Toronto region.

For more information, visit www.civicaction.ca or @CivicActionGTA.

SOURCE CivicAction

For further information:

For information on CivicAction's regional transportation initiative, please visit
www.civicaction.ca/regional-transportation or contact:

Christine Mulkins
647-242-3686
cmulkins@rogers.com

For week of July 16, 2012, please contact:

Halyna Zalucky
T: (416)309-4480 x580
greening@civicaction.ca


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