Greater Toronto Area (GTA) businesses are calling for new investment in transportation infrastructure as their top priority for Ontario’s next government. In a province-wide private sector study by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, businesses recently weighed in on their key policy needs. Businesses across the province participated in record numbers in the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s 2011 Pre-Election Business Survey. The survey identified policy priorities most integral to the province’s economic prosperity.
Overall, the results revealed that steering Ontario’s economy through tough economic times will require political leaders to redouble their focus on reducing red tape and bringing down the deficit. However GTA businesses made it clear that transportation was at the top of its list.
As a result, the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce, together with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and ten GTA Chambers and Boards of Trade from Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Mississauga Newmarket, Markham, Richmond Hill, Toronto, Whitechurch-Stouffville and Ajax-Pickering are calling for increased consideration of GTA transportation needs in the lead up to the October 6th election and beyond.
The GTA transportation network plays a critical role in Ontario’s growth and economic development. Studies indicate that the demand for travel will exceed the capacity of the existing regional transportation network over the next two decades. The result will be increased congestion, constrained economic growth, higher fuel consumption and air pollution, and a lower quality of life.
GTA businesses use the 400 series highways and regional transit on a daily basis for going to and from work and moving goods across the region. Businesses realize from a highway safety and traffic congestion standpoint the need for increased transportation and transit capabilities to properly and safely service the residents, businesses, and industry located in the GTA region.
Better integrating GTA-Hamilton transit systems, expanding inter-city bus and rail services, and investing in the road network (such as the 407 extension) were raised as key areas for improvement by GTA employers.
The GTA Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade together with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, urge all parties to make transportation investment a key strategic aspect of the new government’s mandate.