Provincial takeover of TTC cost proposed - Toronto StarAn article in today's Toronto Star resurrects an idea which came up after the last provincial election, but quickly faded. Rob MacIsaac, the Chair of Metrolinx, has proposed that Toronto consider letting the province upload the cost of running TTC services with regional impact. Presumably, this means the subway, major bus routes and future Transit City lines which come close to the border.
As I've said before, this is an idea worth exploring. However, the scope needs to be expanded because even the lowliest community bus in Milton forms part of a regional network. As such, uploading of the costs of all transit services in Metrolinx's operating area should be the objective of any new provincial policy. Also, uploading all of the systems would benefit municipalities most, as lower population densities and smaller tax bases often result in suburban service being less frequent, longer waits form improvements, and sometimes, massive service cuts.
Of course, there are some concerns which must be addressed. Provincial funding would result in some provincial control (and possibly Provincial imposition of policies), and we will have to ensure that local planners can quickly address issues on neighbourhood routes. This will be made harder with Queens Park at the helm. Also, we need to ensure that improvements are balanced across the region, and not concentrated in any one area to the exclusion of others.
This is an issue which is long overdue for study, and its one that I'll be following closely.