Comment 121761

By RobF (registered) | Posted July 27, 2017 at 12:08:44

In theory, the province can do whatever it wishes with regard to local (i.e. municipal) government. In practice, however, any change to local government or a particular municipal corporation is subject to two considerations: what will be the political consequences, and what are we hoping to achieve via a restructuring?

To have Metrolinx absorb all transit functions in the GTHA we'd probably have to experience the same kind of process that took place in 1950-51 over amalgamation that resulted in a two-tier metropolitan system of government in Toronto. I don't see Hamilton being at the forefront of that, though. We'd be a smaller player in the grand scheme of things. And your point about Metrolinx increasing its role in transit provision in Hamilton, while the municipality stands-still or retreats is true.

The real fight would be between the City of Toronto, the TTC, and the Province ... that is quite a different situation, because Metrolinx brings commuters into Toronto, especially into the downtown core and CBD (that provides an implicit subsidy to the tax base of Toronto), while the TTC moves people around within the City (which the local tax base subsidizes). In a fight over who controls transit in Toronto the province has the legislative power to do what it wants, but in terms of number of passengers the TTC is still considerably larger than Metrolinx, so it would be a reverse take-over. That comes with risks to the province: you break it, you own it (politically and financially) would then apply. In my view, things would have to be pretty dysfunctional for any provincial government to want to take that on without significant restructuring of Metrolinx itself to make it more responsive to local stakeholders.

I'd look to BC/Metro Vancouver and Translink to see the form it might take ... and I'm tempted to call that an improvement, but you'd need to look more closely at it in operation to see that it might be better, but its no panacea for the sort of political and cultural divide on automobility that underpins our dysfunction in Hamilton, re: LRT.

Comment edited by RobF on 2017-07-27 12:11:43

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