Current Minister of Transportation appears to have suggested a Niagara GTA highway doesn’t make sense – hooray! GO is a better deal.

It’s university, Carnegie Mellon University, and some of the other colleges and post-secondary institutions and business leaders, the Heinz family and others, really set out to re-invent Pittsburgh in the aftermath of the loss of its steel industry, and led to what is now one of the largest clusters of health and life sciences innovation and pharmaceutical related life sciences in the US.

But Pittsburgh produces more steel today than it ever did before. It just does it in two steel plants that look more like high schools and have less than 300 employees – more steel, two very clean facilities, and less than 300 employees, from 104 steel plants.”

“When I suggest that the economic revolution that we’re going through right now is more significant than the industrial revolution of the mid-nineteenth century, I’m not kidding.”

Murray pointed to the “huge increase in educational funding the McGuinty government lead us in the largest investment in universities and colleges – almost doubling the amount and continuing that – the largest investments in research and development to make sure we have the workforce and that we have the best educated workforce in the western world and that we have the best school system in the English-speaking world.”

“The next round to determine winning is to make us the most mobile society in the world. And that goes with two things – proximity and connectivity. So proximity is really, really critical. What do I mean by that? I mean there has to be a connection between higher order transit and where commercial and employment lands are created, and that’s where we had a traditional problem. The checklist before we came to power in 2003, we were on a very different course. There was a de-emphasis of public transportation and higher order transit. The Eglinton subway started by previous governments was being filled in. …. GO had gone five years without a single dollar of capital investment.”

Transportation funding is now more than vital – without it we will literally grind to a halt.  Murray argues that “we have to make sure that intensification is as much about the right kind of services around employment lands, the right kinds of jobs, the right income, co-located with the right kind of housing to reduce the demands for transportation, and then move to higher order transportation so that we can get the most efficient use for our dollars.”

“To give you a sense of what I mean by that”,he said, “we’re hoping we can start to look at transportation as what does it cost to move one person one kilometre and what speed do we move them at. So the Don Valley Parkway, which is on one side of where I live, moves about 54,000 people in a day. The Yonge Street subway does that in about 90 minutes – about 38,000 people an hour. So we have to start looking strategically, not just at the cost, but at the return on investment.”

Will parking in the parking lots we leave our cars in remain free while we ride these trains?

“So here we have one of the challenges which is to get highways that are better planned and that’s one of the things that our government is very committed to. I mean you can easily live in the suburban GTHA and have two or three cars in your driveway and have two or three GO passes, because you use your car to travel within your community. When you come downtown, you’re trying to avoid the congestion, so you get on the GO Train. That’s a large percentage of household income dedicated to transportation, to cars and to transit.”

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4 comments to Current Minister of Transportation appears to have suggested a Niagara GTA highway doesn’t make sense – hooray! GO is a better deal.

  • Walter Byj

    Glenn Murray’s comparison of Hamilton to Pittsburgh is somewhat ludicrous. Yes, both were once steel towns, but it ends there. While the population of Hamilton has grown, much of it is attributed to expanding it’s boundaries. Pittsburgh has not changed it’s city limits for over half a century. In fact, parts of Pittsburgh have been razed when expanding their street and highways. Although the city population has been dropping since 1950, the suburban area has been growing and the area has a population over two million. Pittsburgh has 3 major league teams, Hamilton has the Ti-Cats. Pittsburgh has a multitude of universities and colleges, while Hamilton has two. Pittsburgh has re-invented itself and is a phoenix rising above the smoke. This is not a slam against Hamilton, rather it is admiration as to how the arts, business and educational institutions rallied together to form a new path.
    Also Murray stated that Pittsburgh is producing more steel than they ever did before. We must be referencing different data, as this is not the information that I have studied.
    I just wish that politicians would be more thorough in their research.

  • Resident

    GO transit works for congestion in the the 905 zone. The BIG Move mentions high speed rail but does not follow up. If people are going to have fewer cars (and trucks), then high speed tranport over longer distances also becomes important. If there is a new or better rail line across Niagara region, it should/must tie in with any American line through Buffalo and on to ther other states.

    • M. Dennis

      Two under used rail lines already exist across the Niagara region. With a slight addition one of them could even service Hamilton’s Airport.
      The width of the existing rail corridors is enough to accommodate 4 lines which now have 1. This would completely eliminate the need for any more highways.
      The only thing lacking is the political will.