Across Canada large population centres are moving quickly to ensure reliable, accessible and publicly delivered transportation. We need to add Niagara to that list...
Niagara's municipalities were created and grew in a different time. With a lot of land available and a relatively small population, patterns of land development encouraged sprawling urban and suburban areas. Over time, this pattern of development has hindered the ability to deliver public services like transit.
A well-supported public transit system would benefit our economy, our environment and our residents' outcomes. It is time to stop making transit the first item to be cut from the budget and instead invest in providing citizens with greater access to Niagara.
Niagara's Transportation Needs Have Changed
For decades, General Motors was one of the Region's largest employers. That has changed and while our economy has struggled to adjust to this new reality, our transportation strategies have as well. It is time to start considering new transportation needs and opportunities.
A transportation policy that truly benefits each resident of the Niagara Region is one which places its focus on accessible and publicly delivered transportation.
Two of Niagara's significant populations need public transit to thrive: students and seniors. For students and young people, access to public transit is a need, not a luxury. Every year we fail to provide robust public transit is another year we lose Niagara College and Brock students who may otherwise have settled here.
Good Jobs Need Good Transit
Employers need skilled employees to achieve success. By connecting Niagara with modern transportation options, we can become more attractive to employers by providing a significantly larger labour base. It is great that GE has chosen Welland for a plant, but workers need access to the plant and for many this means public transportation.
It Is Time To Get GOing
With the announcement that the province will extend the GO Train line to Niagara Falls by 2023 the Region must create a plan which makes inter-municipal transit a reality and provides access to transportation for those who currently face hurdles when it comes to moving.