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Study suggests congestion could cost Toronto up to $11B annually

One transportation expert said there is no quick fix for Toronto's traffic problems. Jeremy Cohn / Global News / File

TORONTO – A new study claims congestion is costing Toronto’s economy almost twice as much as previously estimated – up to $11 billion every year.

The study, published by the C.D. Howe Institute, claims to take into account actions like finding a job, or buying a product from a business that are abandoned because congestion and a lack of efficient public transit make them too time-consuming and expensive to bother.

“When congestion makes urban interactions too costly to pursue, these benefits are foregone, adding significantly to the net costs of congestion,” the study reads. “For the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area this report estimates the additional costs to be at least $1.5 billion and as much as $5 billion per year.”

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Prior estimates published by the Toronto Board of Trade in 2011 claimed Toronto was losing close to $6 billion every year because of long commute times.

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But the C.D. Howe Institute claims the Board of Trade ignored the true economic cost of the congestion and puts the figure close to $11 billion annually.

The new estimate comes at a time of increasing political turmoil over transit in the Greater Toronto Area.

The Ontario government and the city are reportedly close to reaching a deal to extend the Bloor-Danforth subway line east passed Kennedy Station in spite of the previously agreed to decision to built light-rail transit instead.

And the provincial government is trying figure out how to pay for its 30-year, $50-billion plan for public transit expansion, dubbed The Big Move.

 

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