Make public transit election issue: Nenshi
Mayor Naheed Nenshi says he wants public transit to become an issue in the federal election campaign after Calgary's system received only a middling score on a new international ranking.
Public transit in Calgary was ranked 13th out of 24 in the world by the Toronto Board of Trade's Scorecard on Prosperity.
Overall, Calgary claimed third spot in the report, which ranks the economies and labour attractiveness of 24 global metropolitan areas.
But Calgary's relatively low marks for public transit points to the need for Ottawa to be more attuned to the needs of Canada's cities, Nenshi said.
"I would love to see the federal government talk about public transit as well as affordable housing as major national priorities. To set aside either money or tax mechanisms so that cities can be assured of having funding to build out the projects that people in cities need over the long term," he said.
The Toronto Board of Trade graded city transit systems based on several factors, including: average commute time, the number of vehicles on the streets and the percentage of people using transit.
Most Calgarians drive to work
Calgary's C-Train system is running at full capacity, with 270,000 people using it every day, the report said. Yet, almost 80 per cent of Calgarians drive to work.
Nenshi said better public transit makes cities more livable.
"Canada is one of the few countries in the world that does not have a national public transit strategy. And this election is a great time for us to start talking about developing a national strategy," he said.
None of Canada's municipal transit systems is among the world's top ten, according to the report.
Ottawa spends about $600 million per year on transportation. Last week's budget didn't propose to boost that.
The third annual Scorecard on Prospertiy was published by the Toronto Board of Trade — Canada's largest chamber of commerce — and prepared by the Conference Board of Canada and the Certified Management Accountants of Ontario.
Toronto was ranked eighth overall on the list, while Vancouver and Montreal placed 14th and 20th respectively.
Paris and San Francisco took first and second place. In 2009, Calgary claimed the number one spot on the list.