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Queen's Park to Merge GO with Metrolinx

In a move that surprised some analysts and transit commissioners, the province of Ontario has moved quickly to merge Metrolinx, the agency charged with planning the future of public transit in the Greater Toronto Area, with GO Transit, the agency charged with operating regional transit in the Greater Toronto Area. Transportation Minister Jim Bradley introduced legislation earlier today to bring the two agencies together and to replace the Metrolinx board — currently staffed by a selection of elected representatives from the member municipalities — with a board of “experts” likely appointed by the province.

The Toronto Star has more details about this move. The merger is touted as a means of cutting through red tape and getting shovels in the ground more quickly. Certainly pairing Metrolinx with GO Transit gives Metrolinx more authority as an agency that now actually operates regional transit, but some advocates worry that the elimination of representatives from the member municipalities will result in a top-down rather than a grassroots approach to transit planning. It has also been pointed out that although on paper the merger seems a bold move, until cheques actually start getting written and shovels start digging, we are still no further in implementing much needed improvements to the regional transit framework.

Time, as always, will tell.

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