Anne Golden, leader of Premier Wynne’s Transit Panel, commenced a dialogue with the Ontario public on acceptable means of funding the transit expansion so desperately needed in Ontario.
Why this dialogue wasn’t nurtured nor welcome by Metrolinx last year is fodder for another discussion. I took Ms. Golden’s offer of accepting ideas through email or joining the discussion on #TransitPanel to heart.
Based on the premise that cost should be shared by all parties to an extent and that business’ gains are crucial to the future prosperity of the region, I offer the following ideas, pending further cost/benefit analysis. Pre-suppose that all revenues gained from the following are committed to fund transit and relevant infrastructure projects:
- A 0.25% tax on all shipping/freight of goods into or from Ontario.
- A 0.25% tax on all airline/train/bus travel in Ontario. Ontario residents able to claim a certain percentage of these taxes on income tax returns.
- A 0.75% tax on all land development charges in Ontario.
- Eliminate Drive Clean program immediately. Add 0.25% surcharge on all gasoline and diesel consumption in Ontario.
- A 0.5% tax on a hospitality/convention related activities in Ontario.
- Increase speed limit on all provincial highways to 120 km/hr. Implement photo radar on troubled, accident prone stretches of highway. Use collected funds for transit improvement technology.
- Welcome smart traffic technology initiatives across entire GTA, Hamilton region. Offer tax relief or monetary reward to any and all communities investing in smart technology that reduces vehicular traffic congestion. All claims must be measurable and audited by the province.
- Establish Ring of Fire investment fund to capture all proceeds from the development, royalties, and taxing of extraction or processing activities related to Ring of Fire. This fund can be managed by the investment team than runs the Ontario Teachers Pension fund, with a 1.5% MER paid to OTP for services received. Commit 5% of all fund returns to transit and infrastructure expansion.
- Link Ontario approval for CETA with Ottawa’s commitment to predictable, long-term federal funding for Transit and Infrastructure. Ontario will forfeit the right to pursue compensation for dairy farmers hurt by CSEC, as bulk of European cheese exported to Canada are speciality cheese, while approximately 80% of cheese consumed in Canada is cheddar. We’re chasing minimum dollars, relatively speaking.
- Enforce a 20% penalty on all transit mode and technology decisions made by cities that do not meet “best business, cost/benefit case” criteria, like the Scarborough subway decision. Penalty revenues would fund future transit projects.
- Don’t commercialize the HOV lanes. Let the current model stand for multi-passenger ride use. Incentivize car-pooling rather than reward single occupancy driving.
- Establish car pool locations throughout the province, on all provincial or major highways. Nurture and reward sharing economy through cities’ initiatives.
These are just a few ideas that came to mind since this morning. I will continue to write on this topic on a regular basis and welcome your ideas and feedback here or as Ms. Golden has shared, on #TransitPanel.
Let’s show them we are ready for adult conversations and actions, with the emphasis being on actions.