Toronto is in "imminent danger" of permanent gridlock that will drive up the cost of living and erode the local economy, the Greater Toronto Service Board says.
In a strategic transportation plan to be tabled at next week's city council meeting, the GTSB says traffic jams are already costing the local economy $2 billion a year.
Without improvements to transit, railways and highways, "the implications for the future are ominous," the plan says.
The GTSB says the trucking industry in Toronto is worth $70 billion annually and handles almost 75% of all goods shipped in and out of the area.
Transportation costs, it says, account for as much as 15% of the final cost of finished products.
But with 70% of Toronto's freeways already at capacity and the population expected to grow to 7 million by 2021, more congestion is inevitable.
That congestion, the plan predicts, will lead to additional economic, social and environmental costs that could affect not only Toronto, but Canada as a whole.
"Our economic future depends on the efficiency of the commercial transportation sector, yet delays due to congestion have already added a 30% surcharge on the cost of moving goods," it says.
The solution, it sums up, is a combination of new roads, better transit and improved railway service for all of the GTA.
The report also recommends Toronto-based corporations adopt flexible work hours, a compressed work week and telecommuting.
Combined, it says, they can reduce the number of cars on the road by up to 15%
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