3.20.2013

Transit Revenue Deniers (TRDs) damage economy and environment.

Transit Revenue Deniers (or TRDs as I prefer to call them)  are hurting our economy and our environment. 

The NDP, likes to promote itself as a party of the people, but one must ask, which people? Commuters? I don't think so.  The financially vulnerable? That's a laugh! It seems that the NDP is only interested in helping out the wealthiest citizens in the province.

We have seen how Andrea Horwath and the NDP like to help the wealthiest citizens with the NDP idea to reduce auto insurance rates 15% across the board, a move that will help wealthy  car owners with multiple and/or large vehicles.

It's an idea that seems very similar to their call to remove the HST on home heating. Again, who will this benefit the most? The wealthiest citizens with large homes! It does nothing to promote conservation and nothing to help the environment.

Is this the NDP decision making die?

The NDP brought gambling to Ontario in the 1990's. The province now has 24 casinos and another five planned.  So it would seem to me that the NDP have no problem taking money from the most financially vulnerable people in the province to pay for the infrastructure that all of Ontario needs. The only concern they seem to have with casinos seems to be the privatization of them. Never-mind the financially vulnerable pensioners and unemployed who are spending their last few dollars hoping to win big at one of these revenue generators.




Yet, when it comes to the ideas put forth by the Toronto Board of Trade, to pay for transit, Horwath says no dice!

In a release yesterday The Toronto Board of Trade says it is advancing for discussion, four revenue tools that are balanced, fair, and economically responsible.
They are:

Revenue Tool                  Approx. mid-range rate                                Annual Revenue Potential
Regional Sales Tax                        1%                                                                 $1.0 - 1.6B
Parking Space Levy                      $1 per space per day                                       $1.2- 1.6B
Regional fuel tax                           10-cent/litre                                                     $640- 840M
High-occupancy toll lanes             30-cent/km for single drivers                             $25 - 45M

Chart from: Metro News

Granted, there are pros and cons to all of the ideas, but I have to agree with Green Party leader Mike Schreiner who is criticizing the NDP for hurting the economy and environment by refusing to support dedicated revenue tools to fund public transit. Schreiner said yesterday, "NDP leader Andrea Horwath sounds like Rob Ford when it comes to funding public transit. Ontario's economy will grind to a halt if we don't reduce gridlock with dedicated revenue for public transit."

And, he isn't the only one. Matt Elliot of Metro News also compares Rob Ford to Andrea Horwath, calling them "Transit Revenue Deniers" likening them  to climate change deniers who won't admit there is a problem.

Toronto Transit Commission Chair, Karen Stinz said"It seems to me a little bit of an odd statement for the NDP and Rob Ford to be on the same side,"

It has been well documented that gridlock costs the GTHA economy $6 billion per year in lost productivity. If the status quo doesn't change, gridlock will cost the economy $15 billion per year. Congestion hurts our health, environment and takes precious time away from family and community.

"NDP leader Andrea Horwath sounds like Rob Ford when it comes to funding public transit," says GPO leader Mike Schreiner.

"Ontario's economy will grind to a halt if we don't reduce gridlock 
with dedicated revenue for public transit."

The Green Party is calling on MPPs in the minority legislature
to support dedicated funding for transit.

"We need to be realistic about funding public transit," adds Schreiner. "People are tired of being stuck in traffic. They understand that we can't afford transit improvements without new revenue. It's unfortunate the NDP is standing in the way of better public transit for those who need it most."

"The NDP are wasting the opportunity they have in the minority legislature to leave a great legacy...by funding world-class transit across the province,” adds Schreiner. “We need to change direction in transportation planning, and we need to be realistic about funding. Wishful thinking won’t fund transit."

Ontario can't afford to let gridlock continue. Better transit benefits everyone, not just the wealthy. It means less congestion, fewer accidents and less pollution. So lets stop listening to these TRDs like Horwath and Ford and move forward on transit for the benefit of all of us who live in the GTA.

~Mark Daye is the Green Party of Ontario candidate for Toronto Centre and the Community & Social Services Critic.

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