Yuri Bilinsky , New Pathway – Ukrainian News.
The New Pathway – Ukrainian News asked the following questions of Kinga Surma in her capacity as MPP (Etobicoke Centre) and Parliamentary Assistant to Ontario’s Minister of Transportation:
NP-UN: Is Ontario’s current transportation infrastructure sufficient for the province’s successful development?
Kinga Surma: Over the past 15 years, Ontario’s transportation infrastructure has suffered from the actions of the previous Liberal government. Our Government for the People was elected to improve transit and get the people of Ontario moving again. We are making Ontario open for business and in order to do that, our current transportation infrastructure needs to improve.
NP-UN: What are the Ministry’s short- and long-term goals and strategy?
Kinga Surma: Our government was elected for the people to bring relief and get the province back on track. Our short term goals at Transportation are to first ensure that current projects are sound and that is why we are reviewing all current projects to ensure accountability and value for money to the taxpayer. Our long term goals are to build a world-class transportation system here in Ontario that provides value and benefits to the people.
NP-UN: What transportation projects is the Ontario government financing and considering at the moment?
Kinga Surma: A key project for our government is the uploading of the Toronto Subways to the provincial government. We need to be able to plan, finance, and build new subways and other transit projects across the GTHA faster than we are now. Uploading and using Metrolinx to plan transit as a regional asset is key to getting the people of Ontario moving.
NP-UN: What are the prospects for self-driving vehicles – plans for pertinent legislation, forecasts for Ontario?
Kinga Surma: In January 2016, Ontario introduced its automated vehicle (AV) testing pilot and became the first jurisdiction in Canada to permit automated vehicle testing on public roads.
The pilot allows companies and research institutions to test automated vehicles by application and under a set of stringent conditions, including the need for a human driver while AV technology is engaged.
The key objective of this framework is to allow industry to develop and refine their automated vehicle technologies while protecting road safety. This pilot also allows Ontario to monitor industry developments and evaluate the safety of automated vehicles included in the pilot prior to them becoming widely available to the public.
At this point, it is still unclear as to when highly automated vehicles will be commercially available for both broad consumption and use on public roads.
NP-UN: Are any legislative changes coming for the trucking industry?
Kinga Surma: The Ministry currently has no upcoming legislation regarding the trucking industry. However, there has been some recent legislation that came into effect on July 1, 2017. All new commercial Class A truck drivers are required to take mandatory entry-level training so that all Class A drivers are trained to the same minimum standard and can demonstrate consistent knowledge and skills. Our government was elected for the people and to open Ontario for business. We are actively looking for opportunities to reduce needless regulation on business, including the trucking industry.