Feb 15, 2009

Metrolinx improvements on the way?

I have never been a fan of Metrolinx. Most of their proposed projects are nothing more than a rehash of transit expansion plans that were proposed decades ago. Now the Toronto Sun has suggested that Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is ready to do a shakeup at Metrolinx.

I have always felt that there were too many politicians sitting on the Metrolinx board. Nothing gets public transit managers more confused than politicians. Ask any of them what the politicians want and the most common answer you would get is they wish they knew. There used to be a time when the TTC's commission was made up of members from various parts of the community. There were people that represented business, labour etc. When it was taken over by city councillors things began to change. It was a change that could be felt right down to the rank and file.
One of the influential groups lobbying for a change in governance structure at Metrolinx is the Toronto Board of Trade.

President and CEO Carol Wilding said the board structure needs to evolve following the release last fall of its $50 billion regional transportation plan, The Big Move.

Similar transit planning groups in other jurisdictions have developed implementation boards that rely heavily, and in some cases totally, on private experts with the necessary background to carry through with major infrastructure projects, she said.

We've been advocating heavily that you really need to leverage private sector experience," Wilding said. "It is critical that that governance body has to be one whose priorities are really focused beyond election cycles and any changes in political agendas."
Maybe changes are really going to happen. Contracting out transit is working for York Region. Will contracting out the board of Metrolinx give us something that exceeds what's being delivered by a politically motivated board? We will just have to wait and see what the Ontario government has in mind.

1 comment:

Andrae Griffith said...

The final report to the board from the Citizen's Advisory Committee did recommend that the board of directors be augmented by non-political experts from stakeholder groups. The examples we used included representatives from the Pension Plan Management Sector. They are salivating at the opportunity to invest in infrastructure, so why not formally bring their expertise to the table? Instead of investing in airports in Malaysia, for example, why not facilitate keeping that cash at home?