New campaign urges Ontarians to push transit plan ahead
Sandie Benitah, cp24.com
Published Wednesday, October 10, 2012 1:24PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 10, 2012 4:23PM EDT
What would you do with an extra 32 minutes in your day?
That is the question one group is asking people to think about as it tries to raise awareness about the serious traffic issues plaguing the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.
Thirty-two minutes is how much time people would save in their daily commute if Ontario had a comprehensive, multi-modal transportation plan that was adequately funded and built within the next 25 years, according to the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance.
Former politician and radio host John Tory serves as the chair of the alliance and he said at a news conference Wednesday morning that it’s time residents of the GTHA demand a better quality of life for themselves.
“People will spend an additional 32 minutes commuting if we don’t act on building more transit,” Tory told CP24 after the news conference. “That’s why we have to move forward with the transit plan that’s out there. We’re saying get on with it, let’s engage the public in a conversation about how to pay for it and build the transit so that people have an extra 32 minutes to sleep, read books, play with their grandchildren, as I want to do.”
The Alliance launched a website to coincide with the campaign, prompting people to submit their ideas of what they would do with the extra time.
“That’s what we’re saying to people. Let’s take that time back for ourselves instead of spending it in the car,” Tory said.
The plan is to take those ideas and present them to government officials in an effort to push transit funding and building forward.
“With a commute time amongst the worst in North America, our transportation system is not working, and we do not have to accept it the way it is,” Tory said during the official announcment. “It can be so much better, and we want people to talk about how they would benefit from greater investment to make it better.”
“This is an urgent need, not just a wish list,” he added later on. “There is no free transit. We have to decide how we’re going to pay for it.”
Currently, Ontario’s transit plan – titled “The Big Move” – is being led by Metrolinx, an agency of the provincial government. It was put together in 2008 after extensive consultation with municipal and business leaders and stakeholders.
The province has already dedicated $11.5 billion towards the implementation of the plan, which calls for a cross network of subways and light-rail transit.
Metrolinx is currently working on a progress report that is scheduled to be completed by early 2013.
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