MacIsaac in running for GTA transit czar
By Richard Brennan
Toronto Star(Mar 30, 2006)
Burlington Mayor Rob MacIsaac is a top candidate to head the new Greater
Toronto Transportation Authority (GTTA).
The Ontario government is said to be "high" on
the 44-year-old father of two who has announced he will not be seeking
re-election in November.
And MacIsaac said yesterday he would gladly serve, given his longtime
belief there should be a public transit system across the Greater Toronto
Area and the Golden Horseshoe.
I am a big believer in the GTTA," said MacIsaac, who has been
mayor for nine years.
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," MacIsaac
And I don't understand why we are so accepting of the fact that we
don't have one. There are so many big cities elsewhere that have transportation
systems that blow ours away."
But MacIsaac said he has not been approached by the province
to take on the job, or any other government post.
I've heard quite an assortment of rumours of what I might be doing," he
joked. "I'm hoping one of the good ones comes true."
MacIsaac is on record as supporting toll roads, saying taxpayers
can no longer be expected to always foot the bill for new highways.
The mayor said he would like to continue to serve 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 Greater Toronto Transportation Authority. The agency is
funding ability, but would "plan, co-ordinate and set priorities
for public transit and major regional roads."
Officials say all the area municipalities are on board, including
Toronto and Hamilton.
Stephanie Nadalin, spokesperson for Transportation Minister
Harinder Takhar, wouldn't comment on MacIsaac being a top choice
We're still in discussions and consultations with all of the municipalities," she
A provincial official said the GTTA board will balance municipal
and provincial appointees. The province is expected to appoint
private sector individuals as its representatives and municipalities
the option to do likewise.
Provincial and municipal officials alike 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. He has been a Burlington city council member
for 15 years.
Toronto Mayor David Miller said, "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."
Oakville Mayor Ann Mulvale said, "I think he brings 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."
Both provincial and municipal officials say they were particularly
impressed when he chaired the provincial Greenbelt Task
Force, which paved the way for a 728,000-hectare greenbelt, ringing
Niagara to Northumberland. He also chaired a so-called
growth committee created by the former Conservative government.
With files from Daniel Nolan, The Hamilton Spectator