Transit leaders from across Canada this week called on federal
party leaders to pledge increased funding for transit during the current
federal election campaign.
The call was supported by the release of an economic study by HDR Decision Economics Inc. that analyzed the optimal supply
and demand for urban transit in Canada.
The study conducted had several important conclusions,
economically and socially optimal level of transit supply in 2006 would have
required an estimated 1.7 billion vehicle-kilometers of transit service, or 74
percent more service than actually supplied.
• In 2006,
capital investment of $78.1 billion would have been required to bring the
supply of transit into line with the optimal conditions of supply in that year.
• Results of
the analysis conclude that Canada
is clearly underinvested in urban transit.
transit to the optimal level of supply would produce several positive economic
and social benefits – more than two-thirds of these benefits are constituted by the
economic value of reduced roadway congestion.
HDR's economic study release comes on the heels of a public
opinion poll, conducted by The Strategic Counsel, which was released two weeks
ago by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA). The major
findings from the nationwide poll of urban Canadians demonstrated that 40
percent of respondents believe rising gas prices have already or will push them
to consider using public transit.
“Transit providers welcome new riders, but without new
funding, this kind of increased demand would overwhelm transit systems, many of
which are already at or beyond capacity during peak hours,” explained Steve
New, CUTA chair.
Over the next five years, CUTA is expecting that Canada's transit
systems will require $40 billion to meet demands and expand public