Pembina Institute’s message to public-transit voters: pick anyone but the Tories

Pembina Institute’s message to public-transit voters: pick anyone but the Tories

(Image: Courtesy of the Pembina Institute) (Image: Courtesy of the Pembina Institute)

The Pembina Institute, an environmental think tank, has just released one of its periodic reports on public transit in Toronto, and the takeaway is clear. The institute is saying, essentially, that if you care about transit in Toronto, you should vote for anyone you like in the upcoming provincial election, as long as they’re not Tories.

The centrepiece of the report is a graphical grid (excerpted in the image above) that evaluates the three major provincial parties on different aspects of their transit policies. All three parties score well on their willingness to build new public transit in the GTA, but the Tories, according to Pembina’s analysis, fall down when it comes to implementation. The institute calculates that the Progressive Conservative plan to scrap Toronto’s light-rail projects in favour of immediate subway expansion would cost $2.6 billion more than the province’s existing transit plan, while building 124 fewer kilometres of track. The report also finds fault with Hudak’s promise to use existing provincial funding and assets to pay for all those subways, calling it unrealistic.

In fairness, neither of the other two provincial party leaders has endorsed a concrete plan for paying for transit. The Liberal government has produced two reports that recommend different combinations of transit-dedicated taxes, but has so far failed to endorse any particular course of action. The NDP has come out against transit-dedicated taxes, but hasn’t yet proposed a detailed alternative.

With a provincial election expected at some point this spring, it’s entirely possible that public-transit voters will have no attractive options.

Read the full Pembina Institute report right here.