The following writeup of the Metrolinx Town Hall was submitted by BFAST Chair Doug Brown
I went to the Metrolinx “Town Hall” on December 12. The Town Hall was held so that the public could ask questions of Metrolinx management and get answers. BFAST supporter Nicholas Civiero had submitted a question on missing funding for local transit in advance online. His question was basically similar to the comments I had sent to Metrolinx on November 7 following the Hamilton Roundtable on the Draft Metrolinx 2041 Regional Transit Plan.
The meeting was held in the Metrolinx boardroom at their offices in the northeast corner of Union Station. It was very well attended – ~150 people there as well as many watching online. Unfortunately. the meeting was only 90 minutes long (6:00-7:30) which meant that most questions that people wanted to ask, either in person or online were not presented.
Although a number of supporters had voted for the question submitted by Nick to get it in the top ten, the meeting closed before we even got through the top 10 advance online question. I quickly got in the line for the microphone and was able to ask a question about where the 15% of Big Move funds committed for local transit had gone – roughly $300 million/year for GTHA municipalities. Chief Metrolinx Planner, Leslie Woo gave a very confused and unclear response. I hope to find the recording of the Town Hall to see if I can make any sense from what she said. I also raised the question of parking expenditures and said that Metrolinx’s first/last mile approach seemed simply have people drive to and from the GO stations.
Another serious question was raised about the Metrolinx requirement that their capital projects be Public Private, Partnerships. Metrolinx CEO. Phil Verster maintained that 3P’s were necessary to reduce financial risks, but when pressed to explain, simply got angry at the questioner.
In addition to the short time allotted for questions, Metrolinx staff were overly zealous in quickly clearing the room after the event, preventing many people from questioning staff.