Good Local Transit Planning Requires Firm Provincial Funding Commitment

Queen’s Park, May 3, 2016 – I rise today as MPP for London West to provide an update on my community’s rapid transit initiative, Shift London. Currently, London is Canada’s largest urban centre without a rapid transit system yet has more per capita transit ridership than any other comparable city.

To engage the community in the development of Shift, an extensive consultation process was undertaken, which generated near-unanimous support from Londoners for rapid transit. $125 million has been allocated by council toward the cost of rapid transit and in November 2015 councillors endorsed a hybrid LRT/BRT route as its early preferred option.

This week, council will be meeting to consider a revised option for full BRT, based on a staff business case that considers multiple factors. Chief among these is the $300-million cost difference between the hybrid option and full BRT, and which of the two options are more likely to be funded by upper levels of government.

Speaker, $15 billion has been dedicated by the government for transit projects outside the GTA and the 2016 budget committed to cost-sharing the capital costs of municipal transit projects. As the urban hub of southwestern Ontario, an investment in rapid transit in London will have a major positive impact on the entire region, but good local planning about the best transit option requires firm provincial funding commitment.

I call on this Liberal government to let London know today whether and how much it is prepared to invest in this transformative city-building transit initiative.