Are you a member of a group that could endorse the open letter on transportation and just recovery below? (Or are you involved in preparing a submission on COVID recovery / stimulus programs for a group or as an individual?). Please read it and consider endorsing and/or reflecting the content in you submission.
Climate Caucus, a non-partisan network of more than 250 Mayors, Councillors, and Regional Directors is hosting the letter. Please go to www.climatecaucus.ca/covid19 to fill in the endorsement form (for groups only). See the list of endorsing groups here.
Climate Justice Victoria
Don’t stimulate more traffic and greenhouse gas pollution: An open letter on transportation and just recovery in Canada
We are dealing with a pandemic, an economic crisis and the climate emergency. In past economic crises, governments have poured tens of billions of stimulus dollars into ‘shovel ready’ infrastructure projects without considering if they were ‘shovel worthy.’
This time, the Prime Minister of Canada and the Premiers of most provinces have signed on to a policy shift that could substantially reduce greenhouse gas pollution from transportation while funding public transit improvements.
We call on the Governments of Canada and all provinces to fully implement their commitment in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, to shift investments “from higher to lower-emitting types of transportation.”
Specifically, we call for an end to all highway and airport expansion projects in and near urban areas. The old cliché ‘you can’t build your way out of congestion’ has been proven true over and over again. Increasing road capacity in urban areas leads to more traffic, greenhouse gas emissions, and toxic air pollution. Short haul flights are one of the most polluting forms of transportation, so highway bus and passenger rail connecting cities and rural communities must be improved instead of expanding big city airports.
Transportation is the second largest source of greenhouse pollution in Canada, second only to the oil and gas sector. Stimulus and recovery funding, as well as other infrastructure funds, must go to rapidly reducing greenhouse gas pollution from transportation and creating healthy livable communities. We need to fund improved public transit with affordable fares and dedicated lanes, as well as safe facilities for walking, rolling and riding bicycles. Municipalities are rapidly re-allocating road space to facilitate sustainable transportation and physical distancing, and these efforts must be supported with federal and provincial funding.
As the Canadian Principles for a Just Recovery state, “the climate emergency [is] in itself, a health crisis. . . recovery efforts must not take us backward; they must accelerate the transition towards a more healthy, sustainable, and equitable society.”