Group will oversee transit network for Greater Toronto
We’re getting a clearer picture of who will oversee the GTA’s transportation network.
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It’s about time — while a 2006 opinion poll found a majority of the region’s residents were satisfied with the performance of GO Transit and the TTC, my sense is that riders are increasingly upset about service delays and crowding.
The province is close to confirming the members of the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority (GTTA), which will likely have its first meeting in late March.
The City of Toronto gets four directors on the new board, and the regions of Durham, York, Peel and Halton will each have one representative, as will the City of Hamilton.
No one is really happy with that balance — and it’s probably the best compromise possible. Since there are so few chairs at this important table, municipal politicians will take almost all of them.
And yet the GTTA’s gain means depopulating GO Transit’s board of directors.
Regional chairs such as York’s Bill Fisch and Durham’s Roger Anderson served on GO for many years but the province did not renew their terms after December 31.
Coincidentally, GO Transit has since received some of its most unfavourable media attention in years, as labour issues were compounded by construction and weather-related delays.
Both Fisch and Anderson have been nominated to the GTTA by their respective councils, but their departure from GO leaves the struggling agency with little experienced oversight and, so far, with only one member from municipal government.
Toronto city councillor Joe Mihevc was appointed very quietly earlier this month by Ontario transport minister Donna Cansfield, just days before GO’s directors met to discuss the system’s recent challenges.
As TTC vice chair, Mihevc is a good addition but he doesn’t have the historical perspective on regional transit that the departing 905 politicians do.
Toronto Mayor David Miller’s spot on the GO board has also expired but he had attended few meetings, claiming an overloaded schedule.
Although not yet confirmed under provincial law, Miller and TTC Chair Adam Giambrone are to be GTTA directors, as well as city councillor Brian Ashton and Toronto’s former chief planner Paul Bedford.
Bedford is the only non-politician on the list of GTTA nominees, and is well-respected.
Peel Region’s representative is up in the air.
Cansfield can select only one person, but both Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion and Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell want the job.
Personally, I think GO needs McCallion back for another term.
Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger has also been nominated to the GTTA, as has Halton regional chair Gary Carr.