Is Burlington mayor en route to the GTTA?
to be leading candidate to head new transit agency Area politicians
sing MacIsaac's praises,
Mar. 30, 2006. 01:00 AM
GTA BUREAU CHIEF
Burlington Mayor Rob MacIsaac is a top candidate for heading up the
agency that will set the transit agenda for the GTA, the Toronto Star
The Ontario government is said to be "high" on the 44-year-old
father of two, who has already announced he will not be seeking re-election
And MacIsaac said yesterday in an interview that he would gladly
serve on the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority, given his
belief that there should be a public transit system across the
GTA and the Golden Horseshoe.
I am a big believer in the GTTA. I have been talking about transportation
for a long time and the fact we deserve a world-class transportation
system here in the Golden Horseshoe," said MacIsaac, who has been
mayor for nine years and spent 15 years on council.
And I don't understand why we are so accepting of the fact that we
don't have one," he said.
There are so many big cities elsewhere that have a transportation system
that blow ours away."
MacIsaac is on record as supporting toll roads, saying all taxpayers
can no longer be expected to foot the bill for new highways.
The mayor said he would like to continue to work in a public capacity,
but not in the political realm. "The GTTA might well do that....
I would consider it," he said.
The province is to introduce legislation this spring creating the
GTTA. The agency is not expected to have funding ability but
co-ordinate and set priorities for public transit and major regional
Officials say all of the area municipalities are on board, including
Toronto and Hamilton.
A provincial official said the GTTA board will combine municipal
and provincial appointees. The province is expected to appoint
individuals as its representatives and municipalities will have the
option to do likewise.
Provincial and municipal officials say MacIsaac is the kind of "pragmatic" individual
who would bring years of municipal experience and a genuine interest
in transit to the new post.
All I can say is I have strong admiration and an excellent working
relationship with Rob MacIsaac, so whatever he's doing, in the context
he's going to work with the City of Toronto, I'd be delighted because
I think he's excellent," Mayor David Miller said.
I think he will bring a really good presence and commitment to such
a function.... I have a great deal of confidence in him and I think
that there is a fair bit of capital that he brings if he were the person," said
Ann Mulvale, long-time mayor of neighbouring Oakville.
Both provincial and municipal officials say they were particularly
impressed by MacIsaac when he chaired the provincial Greenbelt
Task Force, which paved the way for a 728,000-hectare greenbelt,
Toronto from Niagara to Northumberland. He also chaired a so-called
smart growth committee created by the former Conservative government.
People forget that it was Rob who was out front in terms of advocating
a seamless transit system across the GTA," said Liberal MPP Ted
The provincial interest in MacIsaac casts doubt on the appointment
of Gordon Chong, former chair of GO Transit, who was considered
a shoo-in to get the nod from Queen's Park.
Transportation Minister Harinder Takhar refused to be interviewed
about the issue.
With files from John Spears