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TORONTO, Ont. — The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) is calling on the provincial government to establishment a “transportation authority.”

The OCC claims the authority’s aim should be the “operating and developing Ontario’s transportation infrastructure.”

“Ontario’s reliance on trade makes it imperative that we have a road and public transit system across Ontario that will sustain us into the future,” says David Gavsie, chair of the OCC’s transportation and infrastructure committee.

“Our highways, trade corridors and U.S. border crossings, are being choked off and our economic prosperity is being threatened,” says Gavsie.

The OCC recommends that the province establish a planning group, consisting of “representatives of business,” and “federal and Ontario, regional and municipal governments, to prepare a report within 90 days, on a business model and governance structure for the formation of the transportation authority.”

According to the OCC, it would lead this “task force.”

The chamber argues the authority is needed because of five reasons.

It says that, “governments at all levels have demonstrated an inability to deal with gridlock and planning on a co-coordinated basis by themselves;” and “gridlock and congestion are increasing alarmingly on Ontario’s roads, trade corridors and border points with the U.S., Ontario’s and Canada’s largest trading partner.”

Its third reason is because “Ontario’s roads and public transportation systems must be improved and expanded quickly.”

Reason four: “new roads and public transportation inroads, possibly innovative, must be made immediately in concert with land and economic development in Ontario.”

And its fifth reason, which isn’t actually an argument but a statement of an obvious fact, is: “financing, both public and private sector, will be critical to the new and improved systems.”

The OCC represents over 57,000 Ontario businesses through 156 local chambers of commerce and boards of trade.

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