FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AJAX – The Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade is currently consulting with its membership regarding The Big Move, Metrolinx’s $50 billion, 25-year transit infrastructure plan.
While much of the focus of the conversation has been around the appropriate “revenue tools” to fund the project, some Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade members have expressed concern about whether the plan truly meets the needs of Durham Region.
“We are very concerned that this costly plan does not adequately account for the transportation challenges that will face Durham Region in the years ahead” said Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade President Bill Zolis. “When you consider the tremendous growth in Durham Region, we are concerned about whether the plan’s proposed investments can keep pace and meet Durham’s transportation needs now and in the years ahead?”
Some Board of Trade members have expressed concern that once the new revenue tools have been introduced, there will be little control to ensure the new taxes are not diverted to general revenues.
Without the appropriate safeguards in place, there are concerns by members that this revenue will be redirected in a future provincial budget by a simple stroke of the legislative pen.
While the Board of Trade generally agrees that the issue of congestion must be addressed, there are concerns that this plan doesn’t provide a meaningful strategy for the eastern GTA.
The Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade is currently consulting with members regarding their preferred revenue tools and gathering feedback about the current projects list. It will release its preferred tools and recommend additional projects for the region in the lead up to a Transportation Summit in late April or early May that will bring together political leaders from all levels of government, local business owners and other key stakeholders.
As part of this consultation, invited members of the Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade and Whitby Chamber of Commerce assembled at the Ajax Convention Centre early March 21 for a roundtable discussion in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. The issue is of vital importance to the residents and businesses of Ajax, Pickering and Whitby as congestion in Durham Region is some of the worst in North America and is creating a drag on economic growth. Traffic congestion costs Ontario $6 billion in productivity every year and the challenges for Durham businesses continue to rise. About 1 million car trips are made to and from the community every day, and the local population is projected to grow more than 50% as early as 2031.
“This event and our upcoming transportation summit are vital in ensuring that the voices of the residents and businesses of Ajax, Pickering and Whitby are heard in this process,” said Paterson. “The Big Move will impact businesses in Ajax and Pickering differently than those in Toronto. Regulators need to hear the voice of local businesses on this issue, and that voice comes through local boards and chambers.”
The Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade is the voice of business in Ajax and Pickering and has a membership of over 600 businesses.
For additional information or to arrange an interview please contact:
905-686-0883 ext 229