Are Toronto’s transit woes all in our heads? Terence Corcoran thinks so

Are Toronto’s transit woes all in our heads? Terence Corcoran thinks so

(Image: Gary J. Wood) 

Between that widely published Toronto Board of Trade report and any number of other groups labelling Toronto’s commute times a disaster, it’s starting to look like the fastest way to get around Toronto is on two feet. So it’s amusing to see Terence Corcoran of the National Post argue that we can’t trust those reports, because they’re all written by people with axes to grind—or by people selling axes.

A big clue as to where the number comes from appears in the opening sentences of the OECD report on Toronto: “The OECD would like to thank the Mayor of Toronto, David Miller, as well as city, provincial and federal officials” who provided the information, data and context for the OECD analysis. Regarding the $5-billion congestion cost, it is actually a U.S. dollar number—converted from Canadian dollars (at an outdated exchange rate)—based on Canadian dollar numbers provided to the OECD by Metrolinx, the Ontario government’s transit agency for the GTA.

The authoritative $5-billion OECD number, in other words, is the product of the Toronto-Ontario transit-industrial complex’s massive economic propaganda machine.

The term “transit-industrial complex,” while hilarious, is a bit confusing given the current state of affairs. Transit City is struggling to get by after $4 billion in cuts, while automakers in this province got more than $10 billion in handouts during their own crisis in 2009.  (Corcoran knows this because he argued strongly against it at the time.)

For those reading the column while stuck in traffic, it may sound like Corcoran is asking, “Who you gonna believe?  Me or your lyin’ eyes?

• Toronto’s great transit con [National Post]