GPO Calls for Infrastructure Fund to Make Streets Safe

Toronto – GPO leader Mike Schreiner is calling on the McGuinty government to dedicate 1% of the transportation infrastructure budget to cycling and another 1% for pedestrians. Sustainable infrastructure is a sound investment that will help people choose healthy transportation options.

“If Premier McGuinty can find $1 billion dollars to build his ‘people’s highway,’ why can’t he find a few million dollars to make streets safe for people?” asks Schreiner.

Today marks the launch of Bike Month in the City of Toronto. Cycling plays an important role in the health of our citizens, strengthening our local economies and our general quality of life.

Quebec spends $200 million on cycling infrastructure and earns $135 million each year from bicycle tourism alone.  The US dedicates 1.6% of its transportation budget for states to invest in cycling infrastructure.  Ontario has no dedicated funding to support cycling or pedestrian infrastructure.

“Ontario needs infrastructure if we are serious about making our streets and roads safe,” says Schreiner.  “A small investment to support cycling will reap big rewards — combating gridlock, reducing health care costs and supporting local businesses.”

Two Danish studies showed that when 1% of car drivers switched to riding bicycles, health care costs were reduced by 1%.  Copenhagen saves $300 per person per year on health costs because almost 80 percent of its population bikes regularly. Cycling and walking projects create 11-14 jobs per $1 million spent, compared to just seven jobs created per $1 million spent on highway projects. These and other studies show that Ontario cannot afford not to invest in cycling infrastructure.

The GPO’s 1% percent solution would create two funds for municipalities to access the dollars they need for cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.  By doing so, Ontario would finally recognize that cycling and walking are important forms of transportation for growing numbers of Ontarians.

“We need a Complete Streets Act in Ontario to ensure that our streets are safe for all users: cars, trucks, bikes, pedestrians, wheeled mobility devices, and transit users” says Trinity-Spadina candidate and GPO critic for transportation Tim Grant.