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Duly Quoted: Dwight Duncan on Toronto’s Gridlock

Our congestion has national ramifications, the outgoing provincial finance minister maintains.

“The gridlock challenge in the Greater Toronto—Hamilton area is probably the greatest impediment to productivity improvements in the Canadian economy. Whatever government of whatever political stripe is going to have to come to terms with the reality that there will have to be new sources of revenue to support it.”

—Outgoing Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan (Liberal, Windsor—Tecumseh) on Tuesday. Duncan also commented on the lack of funding for transit from the federal government—though he didn’t mention much about his own government’s decision to scale back on the original planned scope of light rail in Toronto, nor their unwillingness to take on any operating costs for the TTC.


  • Dan

    Dwight is making the leap to the Federal party, as an early endorser of Justin, and getting ready to vacate his provincial seat for Sandra if needed. He would be a good choice for Finance Minister if Mr. Trudeau suddenly finds himself assembling a cabinet some time in 2015…

  • Paul

    Don’t forget the Liberals’ decision to waste transit dollars on a subway extension to Vaughan for their buddy Sorbara.

    • rich1299

      In terms of regional transit it makes sense since it will connect the 407 and highway 7 to the subway system and the Spadina line still has capacity unlike the Yonge line. Though in my opinion it should’ve gone no further north than Steeles. However since it is now regional transit the province had better be paying for some of the operating costs which I highly doubt they will. What’s inconceivable to me is that they’re even considering extending the Yonge line to Richmond Hill when its over capacity as is. Build the full DRL from Danforth in the east through downtown and back up to the Bloor line in the west and then maybe think about extending the Yonge line if that adds enough capacity, but not before then.

  • hamish w

    Along with the Sorbara subway, there’s also the near-waste of the very rare and precious transit corridor where the Airport Link is now being put in. We really needed TTC transit of a sub-regional nature with subway-style spacing of stations – and what is being built very likely won’t be “economic”…..

    • rich1299

      But then wealthy people would have to rub shoulders with everyday Torontonians, you can see the problem they were faced with right there. In all seriousness I expect this rail link to be an economic failure and eventually electrified so it can serve Torontonians and help ease grid lock in the city by providing a much needed NS rapid transit option in the west end. Of course that should’ve been done right from the start instead of spending public money on a transit line only the wealthy can afford to use coming and going from the city we needed a transit line that serves the city.

      • andrew97

        I know what you mean. I’ve been to the airport; it’s nothing but men in monocles and top hats, and ladies in pearls and fur coats.

        • rich1299

          Haha, first off top hats are so 1990s, get with the times. Secondly you won’t be seeing anyone who works at Pearson paying $27 each way to get to work nor any working/middle class people paying that type of fare to get from Weston or Bloor, the only two stops on its line in the city, to downtown. This line will only be used by those well enough off to fly away maybe once per year for vacation or by corporate types billing their companies. It will do nothing for working people trying to get anywhere which is the overwhelming majority of Torontonians.

          It would be an excellent line if taken over by GO and electrified so they could add enough stops to actually serve everyday Torontonians at a reasonable price. But as it is it isn’t even close to being mass transit, its just a luxury service for the well to do.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            $27 is half the price of a taxi to the airport, a third if you’re caught in traffic. It’s also nearly the same price as the airport shuttle (calculated from the Courtyard Marriott on Yonge). Airport employees might not take it, but everyone else will.

  • Paul Kishimoto

    Aside from the dominance of politics over planning in current and past provincial governments’ investments, another problem is that the federal Conservatives would not even acknowledge this to be a correct statement.

    Listening only to Jim Flaherty’s periodic raving, one would think that Ontario’s corporate or income tax rates are more deterrent to business than the near-impossibility of getting around the region.

  • tomwest

    Why not make the express lanes of the 401 and 400 into HOV-only lanes? Then they could move far more *people* per hour. Would be pretty cheap too.

  • Lee Zamparo

    Gee Dwight, maybe then your government could rewrite the COTA and allow Toronto to raise specific taxes for transit? Problem solved, bingo bango.

    • tyrannosaurus_rek

      Or cleave us off into our own province so Ontario doesn’t have to deal with it!