OnBoard Winter 2016 - page 18

Board of Trade’s first annual Transportation Summit
puts regional transit issues front and centre
With more than $15-billion committed by the provincial
government, and the potential for more from the federal
level, the Toronto region has a once-in-a-generation
opportunity to proceed with major regional transit
projects. The Summit provided an important opportunity
to talk about getting these dollars working for the region.
“Given the scale and scope of projects, the Board and our
members want to make sure that this investment creates
jobs and unlocks economic development opportunities,”
said Board President and CEO Janet De Silva. “Perhaps
most important, we want to make sure this money is spent
wisely…and expediently.”
Back in 2008, the Toronto Region Board of Trade was
one of the first organizations to express strong support
for “The Big Move,” Metrolinx’s Regional Transit
and Transportation plan. The bold, $50-billion plan
promised much-needed coordination and integration
of transportation throughout the Greater Toronto and
Hamilton Area (GTHA). Seven years on, the region has
seen progress, but there is still much more to be done.
“We need to get Toronto moving, and investing in transit
is an essential part of that,” said Toronto mayor John Tory
in his opening keynote address. Over lunch, Ontario’s
Minister of Transportation, the Hon. Steven Del Duca,
spoke extensively about the Province’s commitment to
intergovernmental alignment, noting that “gridlock does
not respect postal codes or municipal boundaries.” In the
afternoon, Saleem Mohammad, National Electrification
Programme Director with the UK’s Network Rail,
addressed challenges, cost benefits and best practices
around rail electrification, a key feature of Metrolinx’s
regional express rail (RER) projects.
The Summit also featured six robust panel discussions on
key themes such as effective project partnerships, strategic
investment, financing and funding, job creation and
enhancing the customer experience for transit riders. Early
in the new year, the Board will publish a concise document
outlining the themes and priorities that emerged from the
Summit, along with recommendations that will be presented
to municipal, provincial and federal policymakers.
Delivering Transit,
On November 16, more than 300 business leaders, transportation experts
and elected officials came together in downtown Toronto to discuss the vital
importance of regional transit to our future prosperity.
Delivering Prosperity
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