The Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area’s (GTHA) transportation system has been consistently underfunded for decades, and the resulting congestion—already the worst in North America—has reached a crisis point. It’s affecting our quality of life and our collective economic, social, and environmental prosperity. If left unchanged, it will jeopardize the potential of our city region and our quality of life.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. It can be so much better.
The regional transportation agency Metrolinx has an approved 25-year called The Big Move plan that connect the GTHA like never before. This regional transportation plan is one of the largest infrastructure and service improvement plans in North America, and will dramatically improve how we move people and goods on roads, transit, bike lanes and sidewalks throughout the region. The plan will deliver a seamless, integrated transportation grid across municipal boundaries from Hamilton to Newmarket to Oshawa and across the core of Toronto.
However, the total price tag for capital projects is $50 billion over 25 years ($2 billion a year), and only $16 billion has been committed. Given the shortfalls governments are facing, we need to be open to sustainable ways to raise funds that are dedicated to making this plan happen.
There is a role for everyone in our quest to solve the transportation crisis. Leaders and residents across the region need to join the conversation, and be a part of the solution.
You can make a difference, right now:
- Pledge your support for new funding sources that are dedicated, efficient, transparent & accountable, regional, fair, and sustainable (make text linkable to pledge)
- Challenge your elected officials to show their support too
- Share this campaign on Twitter or Facebook.
Facts & Figures
- We have among the worst commute times on the continent. It takes a GTHA resident an average of 82 minutes/day to commute from home to work. That’s worse than 18 other major international cities, including Los Angeles.
- The GTHA has become a world leader in forcing residents to waste the maximum amount of time in their vehicle, whether at work or play.
- Investment in transit and transportation infrastructure across the region has not kept up with the demands from rapid growth (Source: Data Management Group and Ministry of Transportation).
- From 1986-2006, personal vehicle travel demand grew almost twice as fast as the increase in the supply of roads
- During the same 20-year period, the demand in passenger-kilometres outgrew the supply of transit 2.5 times.
- The situation will only get worse unless we do something about it. By 2031, there will be three million more people living in the GTHA along with an additional 1.5 million cars on the roads – a 50% increase in both.
The benefits of implementing the regional transportation plan:
- 430,000 new jobs created
- $21 billion in employment income
- $29 billion gross domestic product
- $15 billion new tax revenues
- Increased choice for how people get around
- Doubling the number people living within 2 km of rapid transit (from 42% to 81%)
- Improved movement of goods
- Improved air quality. Greenhouse gas emissions from passenger transportation will be reduced by nearly a third
- Reduced congestion
- Better health
- Reduced stress and frustration
- Better connected neighbourhoods
- Enhancing the region’s attractiveness to investors and new employers
- Improving people’s access to jobs
- Greater ability for employers to attract and retain talent
- Increased overall productivity
Read more about the benefits for our region:
- Our Health and Well-Being (download pdf; 708KB)
- Our Economy (download pdf; 729KB)
- Our Environment (download pdf; 720KB)
Frequently asked questions
- Why do we need to act now?
- CivicAction has a vision of a regionally integrated transportation system that is efficient, accessible, affordable, and fully connected to play a vital role in driving our region’s economic, social, and environmental prosperity. The cost of congestion is $6 billion in lost productivity per year (Source: Toronto Board of Trade), and is expected to more than double over the next 15 years. As a region, we must act now to make this regional transportation vision a reality.
- What’s so important about the number 32?
- 32 represents the number of minutes per day, on average, that you’ll save on your commute once The Big Move is fully realized – that’s eight days a year or about two years over the course of your life. It is the difference between the average commute time if The Big Move is funded and built over the next 25 years (77 minutes), and the commute time if no comprehensive system is in place over the same time (109 minutes; Source: Metrolinx).
- Why CivicAction?
- This vision is driven by the work we did leading up to and at CivicAction’s 2011 Greater Toronto Summit, attended by close to 1000 regional leaders.Our post-Summit report, Breaking Boundaries, Time to Think and Act Like a Region, called for broadening public awareness of the need to implement the approved regional transportation plan and driving support for an acceptable mix of sustainable sources to fund its implementation. It’s based on the conclusions of CivicAction’s 2010 report, Time to Get Serious: Reliable Funding for GTHA Transit and Transportation, prepared by Neal Irwin and Andrew Bevan.
- What is Metrolinx and The Big Move?
- Regional transportation agency Metrolinx was created by the province in 2006 to provide residents and businesses in the GTHA with a transportation system that is modern, efficient and integrated. In 2008, Metrolinx’s Board of Directors, with agreement from the region’s municipal councils, adopted The Big Move, a comprehensive 25-year regional transportation plan for the GTHA (click here for more details on the The Big Move). The Big Move sets out projects across the region for the next 25 years. Several projects are underway, including the construction of the Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit Line, the Union Pearson Express, the Spadina subway extension, revitalizing Union Station, , and providing new buses for Hamilton, the Mississauga Transitway, and the Brampton Züm. Click here for a full list of projects currently under way.
- How much will this plan cost and where will we get the money?
- The total price for the capital projects is $50 billion over 25 years ($2 billion a year). About $16 billion worth of projects are currently funded and underway, with almost $34 billion in capital costs left to fund. That doesn’t even include the operation and maintenance. Metrolinx has delivered its investment strategy to the province and GTHA municipal governments with recommendations on how to raise the money to build out the plan. Now it’s up to governments to make the tough decisions on how to fund transportation expansion, and ultimately to act.
- Why does our transportation strategy need to be regional?
- People and goods travel to and from our region’s towns and cities every day, with 2.4 million trips crossing municipal boundaries daily. We’re competing for investment with other regions around the world, and it’s important that people and companies that come here are not spending their time sitting in traffic.
What other cities are doing
After years of congestion, long commutes, and under-funded transit systems, governments and residents in cities around the world have been making up for lost time. People have supported raising money in new ways to make major investments in transportation in North American cities such as Vancouver, New York, and Los Angeles, and around the world in cities such as London, Copenhagen, and Delhi. The results have been obvious and tangible: new rapid transit lines, less congestion, greater choice, and a higher quality of life for all commuters. If they can do it, so can we.
Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance
Our Region, Our Move: Accelerating Investment in our Regional Transportation Network
Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance
Breaking Boundaries: Time to think and act as a region
Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance
Time to Get Serious: Reliable Funding for GTHA Transit and Transportation prepared by Neal Irwin and Andrew Bevan
Putting Transportation on Track in the GTHA
The Conference Board of Canada
Connecting Jobs and People: Exploring the Wider Benefits of Urban Transportation
Toronto Region Board of Trade
Reaching Top Speed
Commuting to work: Results of the 2010 General Social Survey
Shapiro, Hassett, and Arnold
Conserving Energy and Preserving the Environment: The Role of Public Transportation
Toronto Public Health
Air Pollution Burden of Illness from Traffic in Toronto: Problems and Solutions
Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance
Moving Our Region: Funding Transportation for our Future