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January 21, 2013

CivicAction Alliance campaign reveals commute times in the GTHA are getting worse

Traffic gridlock in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) is having a human cost, found the “What would you do with 32?” campaign.

“When we talk about congestion, we often talk about the economic and environmental costs," said CivicAction chair John Tory. "But GTHA residents are showing us the human cost of the region's antiquated, inadequate system, and it's only going to get worse."

The campaign by the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance asked GHTA residents what they would do with an extra 32 minutes a day, which the average commuter would save each day if The Big Move, a regional multi-modal transportation plan is funded and built in the next 25 years. The movement was launched in October to build support for sustainable ways to invest in better transportation. Metrolinx says if no comprehensive system is built the average commute time in the GTHA will be 109 minutes, compared with 77 minutes if it is built.

Through their responses, thousands of people are showing how traffic congestion affects their quality of life. Instead of sitting in traffic or waiting for a bus, train, or subway, they yearn to be with family, friends, and pets, and take better care of themselves by exercising, eating properly, and sleeping more.

"We have to consider the consequences of what people are giving up and decide that the human cost is more than our region can bear," said CivicAction chief executive officer Mitzie Hunter.

The Big Move will deliver an integrated transportation grid across municipal boundaries from Hamilton to Newmarket to Oshawa and across the core of Toronto.

The total price tag for capital projects is $50 million over 25 years, about $16 billion has been committed so far. Given the shortfalls governments are facing, CivicAction says residents need to be open to sustainable ways to raise funds that are dedicated to making this plan happen.

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