Gridlock is getting so bad that a $50-billion Metrolinx regional master plan is considered essential to keep Toronto from falling behind as an international city, business leaders were told Thursday morning.

The costs to the Greater Toronto Area are $6 billion annually and could grow to $15 billion a year, said Toronto Board of Trade president Carol Wilding and Metrolinx president and CEO Bruce McCuaig.

“We are ranked among the worst cities globally for commute times by the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development),” McCuaig said later in an interview.

Wilding agreed, saying “commute times are the longest of major global cities and they’re getting worse.”

Metrolinx, a provincial government agency, has been tasked with delivering a $50-billion project that will transform the transit system across the region over the next 25 years.

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