Metrolinx says the region needs to find at least $40 billion to save itself from economically choking on gridlock over the next 25 years, and residents should expect to pay since governments don’t have the money for those investments.
A former transportation minister, Wynne is already on the record that the region has to come up with new money to pay for transit expansion, said RCCAO spokesman Andy Manahan.
Road tolls and transit taxes, traditionally a “politically toxic” subject, could help a new premier position herself as fiscally responsible, he said.
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Except for GO Transit, Toronto area transit companies haven’t typically set their prices by distance, say the report’s authors, economics professor Harry Kitchen of Trent University and Robin Lindsey, of the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia.
They suggest that flat-fare transit encourages urban sprawl by allowing commuters to live farther from their jobs without paying more to commute.
“Flat fares also discourage people from using transit for short trips, and this low demand makes it difficult to justify expanding service to nearby suburbs,” says the report.
But it goes onto recommend that transit fares only be restructured in conjunction with other road pricing measures, such as tolling 400-series highways.