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Governance Models for Successful Regional Transit: Who Owns It? Who Pays for It? Who Delivers It?

February 21 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Transit presents unique challenges for metropolitan regions. On the one hand, transit systems in cities like Toronto, New York, and London draw riders from across the surrounding region and are essential to these economic regions. On the other hand, transit systems serve a vital local function. Transit systems don’t just get commuters to work. They connect neighbourhoods – a purpose that can get lost when thinking on a regional basis.

These varied demands raise important governance questions. In tightly connected metropolitan regions, who should make transit decisions? Who should run the system? Who should pay for it? On February 21, Michael Schabas, Patricia Wood, and Joe Berridge explored how different cities and regions around the world have confronted these questions. As the Government of Ontario looks to upload some of Toronto’s transit, these three speakers looked at how different models of regional transit governance have succeeded or failed to support both thriving regions and effective local transit.

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Michael Schabas has 40 years experience in planning, funding, construction, and operation of rail passenger and urban transport systems. He played leading roles shaping Vancouver’s Skytrain, London’s Jubilee Line Extension, Docklands Light Railway and Overground, and Britain’s first High Speed line. Since 2014, Michael has been providing advice to Metrolinx on the upgrading of Toronto’s commuter network into electrified Regional Express Rail, now called “GO Expansion.” He is a Partner of UK-based global rail strategy consultancy FCP. He is the author of the book The Railway Metropolis: How Planners, Politicians and Developers Shaped Modern London.

Patricia Burke Wood is Professor of Geography at York University and a co-founder of its City Institute. She is a co-author of CodeRedTO’s recent transit report, Mixed Signals: Toronto Transit in a North American Context. She also writes a transit and urban affairs column for Spacing.ca.

Joe Berridge is an urban planner and city builder who has been strategic advisor for the development of the city centres of Manchester, Belfast, and Cardiff and for the waterfronts of Toronto, Singapore, Sydney, Cork, London, and Governors Island in New York City. He is now planning the new hub for Toronto Pearson International Airport. Joe teaches at the University of Toronto and is a Senior Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. Joe’s book Perfect City will be published by Sutherland House in April 2019.

Drew Fagan is a professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. He previously spent 12 years in leadership positions with the governments of Ontario and Canada. With Ontario, he was Deputy Minister responsible for the 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games and Deputy Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. He also spent four years as Deputy Minister of Infrastructure, with responsibility for Ontario’s long-term infrastructure plan. He joined the Ontario Public Service in 2009 from Ottawa, where he was Assistant Deputy Minister for strategic policy and planning at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (now Global Affairs Canada).

At IMFG, we strive to create inclusive events for all individuals to participate. All IMFG event spaces are accessible. If you have further questions about the accessibility of our events, please contact info.imfg@utoronto.ca. Read about IMFG’s commitment to accessibility


February 21
4:30 pm - 6:00 pm


Campbell Conference Facility
Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, 1 Devonshire Place
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3K7 Canada


Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance