22 Feb, 2012

Gridlock: can we stop it from getting worse?

Toronto, ON/February 22, 2012 – The Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area (GTHA) is stuck in a transportation crisis – a crisis of congestion that is getting worse as the population of the region grows.

From 2001 to 2011, the region added one million people, and today, 6.6 million people call the GTHA home, with two million people more expected to be added to that population figure by 2031.  Commuters in the GTHA are already burdened with one of the longest average commute times in North America. Congestion costs. It costs people time with their loved ones and it costs businesses money as the movement of goods within the city region slows to a crawl.

A three-part speaker series, launching on February 27, brings together noted transportation policy-makers, practitioners and academics to discuss critical issues that will profoundly influence the future growth and prosperity of the Greater Toronto-Hamilton Area (GTHA). The Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG) at the Munk School of Global Affairs continues its popular series, Moving Our Region: Transportation for the Future, supported by Metrolinx.

Investment in transportation infrastructure is critical to our region’s future economic growth and prosperity. At the same time, it is necessary to mitigate and reverse the growing costs of congestion in our city-region. However, in times of fiscal constraints, traditional tools for financing infrastructure investment are no longer sufficient.

“These are serious issues facing the GTHA,” said Enid Slack, Director, Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance and Adjunct Professor, Munk School of Global Affairs. “Our three esteemed speakers will elevate the debate on transportation infrastructure, pushing us to consider new tools of funding and challenging us to consider if we are making the right investment in these troubling economic times.”

These lectures will focus on the importance of transportation infrastructure to the economy of the city-region, the private sector’s role in transportation, and revenue tools for funding transit.

Moving Our Region: Transportation for the Future Speakers Series

February 27, 2012

Session 1: Move It: The Importance of Transportation in the Economic Growth of City-Regions

Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto
Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility
1 Devonshire Place
4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Around the world, there is a broad understanding of the role that strategic investments in transportation play in advancing metropolitan and national economies. In the current context of recovery from the global recession and the shift of economic power to city-regions, investments in roads and transit are more important than ever. We need new approaches to how these projects are conceived, funded, and delivered while, at the same time, reinvesting in existing infrastructure. Robert Puentes will discuss these macro trends, their impact on transportation policy, and how infrastructure investments in our city-regions can establish a foundation for productive, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth.

Guest Speaker: Robert Puentes, Senior Fellow and Director of the Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative, Brookings Institution Metropolitan Policy Program

Robert Puentes’s work focuses on the broad array of policies and issues related to metropolitan growth and development. He is an expert on transportation and infrastructure, urban planning, growth management, suburban issues and housing. Prior to joining Brookings, Robert was the director of infrastructure programs at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Virginia where he served on the Alumni Advisory Board, and is an affiliated professor with Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute. He serves on a variety of boards and committees including, most recently, the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, the Tysons Corner Tomorrow Advisory Task Force, and the Falls Church, Virginia Planning Commission where he lives with his wife and three sons.

Moderated by Rahul Bhardwaj, President and CEO, Toronto Community Foundation

March 26, 2012

Session 2: The Role of the Private Sector in Transportation

Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto
Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility
1 Devonshire Place
4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Jane Bird will examine the relationship between government and the private sector, and their respective roles in developing and operating transportation infrastructure. As part of her presentation, she will examine the lessons learned from the funding and construction of the Canada Line in Greater Vancouver. She will discuss the opportunities and challenges of engaging in public-private partnerships. And, she will assess the role the private sector can play in building transportation infrastructure and operating transportation services.

Guest Speaker: Jane Bird, President and CEO, Columbia Power Corporation

Prior to joining Columbia Power Corp., Jane Bird was the Chief Executive Officer of Canada Line Rapid Transit Inc. In her capacity as CEO, she was responsible for the management and implementation of the Canada Line, a $2 billion, 19 km rapid transit line connecting downtown Vancouver with Richmond and the Vancouver International Airport. Prior to her involvement with Canada Line, Ms. Bird was responsible for negotiations on behalf of the City of Vancouver with the Province of British Columbia for the Millennium Line rapid transit extension. Ms. Bird currently sits as a Director on the boards of Global Container Terminals Inc. and Simon Fraser University Community Corporation. She is also a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors and in 2009 she was awarded the Vancouver Board of Trade Spirit of Vancouver Outstanding Leadership Award

Moderated by Doug Turnbull, Deputy Chairman, TD Securities

April 16, 2012

Session 3: Transportation Revenue Tools, Implementation, and Accountability

Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto
Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility
1 Devonshire Place
4:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Drawing on his substantial knowledge of metropolitan Los Angeles’ transit infrastructure and financing, Richard Katz will examine the advantages and disadvantages of different revenue tools for financing transit. He will speak of generating popular support for, and implementing, new forms of financing. And, he will address how to ensure that the process of selecting and investing in transit projects is transparent and accountable, so the public knows that money allocated for transit is being spent appropriately.

Guest Speaker: Richard Katz, Chair, Metrolink, and Board Member, Los Angeles County MTA

Richard Katz is Chair of metropolitan Los Angeles’s regional commuter rail system Metrolink, and serves on the Board of Los Angeles County’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority. He is also the owner of a successful public policy and government relations firm based in Los Angeles, Richard Katz Consulting (RKC) Inc., and previously served in the California State Assembly. During his tenure in the assembly, he served as Chair of the powerful Assembly Transportation Committee and authored Proposition 111, a 10 year Transportation Blueprint passed by the voters. He also created the Congestion Management Plan, requiring cities and counties to measure and mitigate impacts of land use decisions on their streets, highways and transit systems.

Moderator to be announced.


About IMFG

The Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance (IMFG), directed by Enid Slack, focuses on the finance and governance issues faced by large cities and city-regions in Canada and abroad and develops solutions to their problems. It is the only institute in Canada that focuses specifically on municipal finance issues and on large cities and city-regions. IMFG conducts original, independent research on cities in Canada and around the world; promotes high-level discussion among Canada’s government, academic, corporate, and community leaders through conferences and roundtables; supports graduate and post-graduate students to build Canada’s cadre of municipal finance and governance experts; and hosts visiting scholars to share perspectives from other cities. Research, presentations, and webcasts can be found at the website, https://imfg.org/.

For more information or to book an interview with a speaker, contact:

Andrea Ellison

Dr. Aaron Moore