Monday, February 7, 2011

NDP tables "national transit strategy"

The New Democrat Party of Canada has a long history of making transit-related announcements, a couple recent ones being a couple of bills to protect transit operators, and before that--during the 2008 federal election campaign--a series of funding announcements in major Canadian cities.

Last week, Toronto NDP MP Olivia Chow introduced a National Public Transit Strategy. In a press release, the NDP said Canada was the only OECD member state without one. From the release:
“Canadians deserve fast, reliable, affordable and accessible public transit,” said Chow. “Every year billions of dollars are lost due to traffic congestion while simultaneously transit authorities struggle to meet demands.”

Chow’s legislation outlines a strategy for the federal government to:
  • Provide a permanent investment plan to support public transit
  • Establish federal funding mechanisms for public transit
  • Work together with all levels of government to provide sustainable, predictable, long term and adequate funding
  • Etablish accountability measures to ensure that all governments work together to increase access to public transit.
Hard to imagine how this could be a bad idea for municipalities looking for consistent funding for public transit infrastructure. The release goes on to discuss operating costs, which have never been funded by federal partners, but... hey, if it can help offer "predictable" transit funding, cities will be better able to plan their transit infrastructure development with the knowledge that the funding isn't dependent on how generous the government of the day is feeling.

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