Doing things differently
I reproduce below untouched the press release from the GTTA. It seems that Ontario is going to change direction, following the lead set by the GVTA eight years ago. Sadly, in BC, that put the GVTA at odds with the Minster of Highways and Boosting Suburban Property Development. So he decided to reconfigure the GVTA in a way that would ensure that the regional authority does not find a spine and stand up to him again.
I would like to emphasize the commitment to public input (something the BC Liberals find distasteful and to be ignored when forced upon them) and to improving the environment.
UPDATE Sunday July 29
I was mislead by the name. I have been informed that it is, in fact, not a transportation authority (i.e. all modes) but merely a transit authority, and the province of Ontario is still hell bent on expanding its freeways.
Greater Toronto Transportation Authority on the Move
TORONTO, July 27 /CNW/ – The Board of the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority (GTTA) today gave the green light to focus its regional transportation plan on people, the environment and the economy.
“We will build our plan on three objectives for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) – improving people’s quality of life, protecting and enhancing our natural environment, and ensuring the region’s global economic competitiveness,” said GTTA Chair Rob MacIsaac.
Broad public participation
The board also agreed that extensive public participation will help build a stronger plan. “Everyone living in the GTHA has an interest in travelling quicker and smarter – and they all have views from which this plan can benefit,” said MacIsaac.
Starting this fall, the GTTA will develop a regional transportation plan with support from technical groups from its network of government and transit partners. There will also be opportunities for input from the private-sector and the non-profit sector.
The board will also commission an advisory committee of community leaders from across the GTHA to provide ideas on how better transportation choices and investments can contribute to a healthier, more prosperous region.
Criteria for quick action
There was agreement by the GTTA board on criteria that will allow the GTTA and its municipal and transit partners to move ahead quickly with transit and transportation initiatives, as called for by Premier McGuinty’s MoveOntario 2020 vision, announced in June.
“We would like to achieve some early wins as we know how urgent it is to address the transportation problems in the GTHA,” said MacIsaac.
The board determined that projects will have priority if they make a tangible difference in the regional travel experience of the average commuter, can move ahead quickly, and if they do not prejudice future plans or projects. The board will review results of that analysis in August.
At the open meeting held at Toronto’s Metro Hall, presentations were made by the GTTA’s municipal and transit partners – from Durham, Toronto, York, Peel, Halton and Hamilton – as well as by GO Transit. The presentations focused on links to good land-use policy and how their plans relate to, and could advance, MoveOntario 2020.
“I was impressed by the calibre of their plans and proposals,” said MacIsaac. “Our municipal and local transit partners are clearly seeing transportation issues regionally, rather than just locally. That’s important, timely leadership.”
GTTA on the move
In an agenda packed with items, the board also received the GTTA’s $8.82m 2006/07 operating budget and authorized recruiting staff and consulting resources required to fulfill its transportation improvement mandate.
“We’re making great strides,” said MacIsaac. “Start-up organizations are always a challenge but with these decisions behind us, and with the GTTA’s recently announced responsibility for implementing the $17.5 B MoveOntario 2020 vision, the GTTA is clearly on the move.”
For more details go to www.gtta.com/en/business/Jul27_07agenda.htm.
THE REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION PLAN:
The Greater Toronto Transportation Act 2006 requires that the GTTA create a regional transportation plan. The creation of the plan will provide a strategic, long-term vision and guidance for investment decisions. Input from municipalities, operators, stakeholders and the public will shape the plan, to ensure it brings together the needs of the broader region.
ROLE OF THE ADVISORY COMMITTEE:
The GTTA legislation charges the GTTA with the responsibility to create its regional transportation plan with input from the people who know transportation best – experts in the field and users. A board sub-committee has the responsibility for identifying and appointing a 12-member advisory committee. The four-person sub-committee, led by Chair Rob MacIsaac, will report back to the full board in August.
SUMMARY OF TRANSPORTATION PLANS:
Representatives from the cities of Toronto and Hamilton, and the regions of Halton, Peel, York and Durham and GO Transit presented their transportation plans, highlighting their vision for improving transit and connecting their plans to MoveOntario 2020.
To complement the work being conducted on its regional transportation plan, the GTTA will move ahead – with its governmental and community partners – to enlist public and stakeholder input and support. In addition to staffing and operational costs, the budget covers development of a regional transportation plan, including project prioritization framework, transportation modelling, alternative financing and procurement models for operating and capital. Stakeholder and public engagement are key deliverables.
The GTTA will also be introducing a trip planner for the GTHA. All of these efforts have common goals: increase mobility by providing transportation choices, improve air quality and stimulate the GTHA economy.
The board received an $8.82 M budget to support these and other activities.