The Address-Mr. W. M. Hamilton in proportion to those one is tempted to give in any other city of which I know.
The Gordon commission report on the economic prospects of Canada over the next 25 years contains some interesting statistics for all of us who live in the cities of Canada. The commission found:
Canada has been becoming an increasingly urban country and this trend will continue. In 1951, 62 per cent of the population lived in metropolitan areas or in other cities, towns or villages with more than 1,000 people. By 1980 that proportion may rise to 80 per cent. Over the same period the proportion of the population living in metropolitan and urban areas of more than 100,000 people may rise from 36 per cent to 56 per cent.
Translated into actual population figures, the commission estimated that by 1980 the population of Canada's 15 metropolitan areas will be some 12 million people, as compared with 5.2 million at our last census. When we turn to Montreal, with which perhaps I am more familiar than with the other metropolitan areas of Canada, we find that while the Gordon commission has not published a particular estimate for that city, other authoritative figures place our population by 1980 at over 3| million, which is an increase of more than l\ million above the present figure.
Let me turn again to the Gordon report to obtain further background for what I am going to say. It forecasts that there will be a steady decrease in the number of hours we will work each week, so the present average of just over 41 hours will be reduced by 1980 to just over 34 working hours per week. It is probable, too, that we shall have a good deal more money to spend because, to quote the report:
By 1980 the average Canadian, after paying income tax, will have about two-thirds again as much net income for his own use as he had in 1955.
I would say in parenthesis, Mr. Speaker, that the Gordon commission is apparently forecasting a Conservative government, because we certainly have indication that the attitude of the present administration is to do nothing except follow up increased income with increased income taxes.
Encouraging as these estimates may be, they foreshadow the further growth of a problem which is already a major one in most of our cities in Canada, and nowhere more so than in our city of Montreal. I refer to the problem of traffic. The figures forecast a tremendous increase in the nature and the extent of that problem over the next 25 years. That is because, first, we have an increasing concentration of our population in and around the major urban centres of Canada. Second, we have an absolute growth in the number of people who are living in those areas.
Third, we have an increase in their spare time, which will be reflected in additional travelling and additional movement around the city itself. Fourth and finally, I think we can expect that the increased income which is forecast will be reflected in increased automobile ownership, as people move from no car to one car and as our families become more and more two-car families where now they operate only a single automobile.
Take as one example Montreal, which is Canada's largest city-and by all indications it is destined to remain so
situated on an island contiguous to other islands. It faces across the St. Lawrence river another area promising, upon the completion of the seaway, to be one of the most prosperous urban areas in Canada if not in the world. The free circulation of traffic, its smooth movement without delay not only throughout the city but across the water barrier which surrounds the city, becomes not only a municipal concern, not only a provincial concern, but a problem of national importance in which, I suggest to you, Mr. Speaker, the federal government should have a very direct and immediate interest.
While I have used Montreal as an example, Mr. Speaker, I make these observations on traffic not only in respect of our city but in respect of all the other metropolitan areas across this country which are faced with this problem and which are going to have to solve it, if it is to be solved, through the expenditure of immense amounts of money.
Let me turn to the area which I am using as an example. We find ourselves in Montreal in the midst of a mighty and dynamic metropolitan region which stretches southward to the United States border, westward to the Ontario border, northward in to the Lauren-tians and eastward to the Richelieu river and beyond. Like all the other major cities of Canada, all this surrounding area which is contiguous to the city itself is a part of its region. The city lives, breathes and has its being only as it engages in commerce and interchange of people and business with the metropolitan region surrounding it. As this great heartland of ours grows and flourishes -and I think that future is destined for it- there is going to be an ever greater and more difficult traffic problem throughout the entire area. The co-ordination of this traffic will be the first concern, obviously, of any municipal government or any metropolitan regional government which is established. Once established it will, with the financial help of the provincial government, probably be competent to deal with the arterial roads which run through it and which bind its economic
activities to the rest of the region. But even with a full measure of provincial help no local authority can cope with the many water crossings which this network of arterial roads would require. What demands are likely to be made in the future, and what are the requirements at the present time?
Engineering experts have calculated that it will take a tunnel perhaps seven or eight miles in length to take trains as well as automobiles under the St. Lawrence river, and that this would cost approximately $175 million. I do not propose to quarrel with the cost, though it does seem rather high at this point. I do not even propose to quarrel with the proposed length of the tunnel, though I think we should remember when considering a problem such as this the experience of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the Rockies, where they found that spiral tunnels in which the railroad mounted around and above itself enabled them to bring the road out at a point almost immediately above that at which it entered the mountain. I think that is something which might well be considered by those who are giving this problem engineering study.
Be that as it may, we have a cost estimate of some $175 million in order to provide a tunnel to allow train traffic to go underneath the St. Lawrence river and thus remove it from continued interference with the seaway. That in turn would enable the Victoria and the C.P.R. bridges to be converted to traffic use alone. Since the
gradient for autos could be much steeper the ends could be raised, especially the south end, to enable it to clear the seaway and thus eliminate another problem which currently is facing us in that area. We also have the promise of the Minister of Transport to deliver a new bridge to Montreal called the Nuns' island bridge, and I shall deal with this subsequently.
With the situation as presently outlined, and with another proposed bridge to the north upon which it is expected the provincial government will embark in the spring, we would still require two additional bridges to the east and west ends of the island, and these might be constructed with the help of the province. On the basis of present-day automobile ownership and traffic count, with these extra bridges and tunnels we would then be almost competent to handle today's traffic. I think I should underline and mark well that I am referring to today's requirements and not those of the future.
Let us look a little into the future. As I have pointed out before, it is estimated that there will be a population increase of about
The Address-Mr. W. M. Hamilton 1J million in that area by 1980. It is estimated also that motor car registration will increase by about 20,000 a year. This means that in addition to today's traffic, by 1981 there will be an additional 500,000 cars to contend with. We can add to that the increase in the surrounding areas which will rise as the seaway is completed and as industry moves in with its buildings and plans.
This is a clear indication that unless we build well beyond today's requirements we are going to be facing bridge congestion and the blocking of traffic circulation on an even greater scale than at the present time. In order to deal with future requirements we would need at least four more bridges across the St. Lawrence, elevated to clear the seaway traffic, as well as other bridges to the north connecting with the arterial roads.
The cost of such a program is stupendous. Taking the cost of the seven or eight mile tunnel at $175 million, and $90 million each for four elevated bridges which would total $360 million, we arrive at a grand total of $535 million. Then there would be another $300 million to pay for the bridges to connect with the expressways, which would make a grand total of $835 million or close to $1 billion as Montreal's share in providing what would be necessary to deal with the expanding problem of Canadian traffic.
This figure of $835 million to cover the bridges and their immediate connections is obviously impossible of attainment even by such a great metropolis as the city of Montreal. Viewing provincial finances for as short a period as 20 years, it would appear to be even beyond the capacity of the province. If these problems are to be solved it means that they must be considered a responsibility of the federal government. I think I have outlined previously some of the reasons why traffic should be the concern of the federal government as well as the provinces and the municipalities.
In order to arrive at a basis of comparison as to how the federal government might deal with a situation like this we could perhaps turn to the experience of the United States, where at the last session of congress there was created a federal highway administration charged with the building of some 41,000 miles of roads and crossroads to be free of traffic intersections and devoted only to the fast and efficient movement of traffic in the area. They propose to spend some $50 billion in the next 13 years, or approximately $4 billion a year.
One of the major goals of this program is the elimination of traffic congestion in and around big cities by taking the traffic
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The Address-Mr. W. M. Hamilton over, under or around the cities by means of bridges, tunnels and underpasses. On the basis of this $50 billion being spread over some 13 years it is expected the United States government will be contributing some $3.2 billion annually by 1965.
Let us relate that to the Canadian picture. On the basis of the relationship between the gross national product of Canada, which is approximately $28.5 billion, and that of the United States, which is about $409 billion, the proportionate amount for us to spend on highways would be some $223 million a year. On the basis of the relationship between our populations, about 16 million in Canada and 167 million in the United States, the proportionate amount would be some $317.5 million a year. Averaging these two figures, which would perhaps give us the truest comparison, we find that the amount would be approximately $270 million if we were to equal the present program of the United States government in highway construction in proportion to our gross national product and our population.
Now let us take a look at just what this government has actually done, and is doing, in this field. The government has acknowledged its responsibility to provide at least some measure of assistance for highway construction across the country by its contribution under the trans-Canada highway plan. In 1955-56 the contributions under this plan were just over $16 million. In the current year they amount to some $30 million. I noticed in the estimates today that another $30 million is proposed for the coming year. To this we must add the construction expenditures by the government itself in connection with providing links in the trans-Canada highway in its own parks. This comes to about $11 million in the current year.
Thus we arrive at a total expenditure for this highway program on the part of the present federal government of about $41 million, and we can use that as a basis of comparison with the $270 million which would be the logical expenditure by this government if it wished to institute a national program of highway development comparable for our country with that undertaken in the United States, and which they feel they can successfully underwrite.
Obviously not even a major part of that amount would be spent in the Montreal area, but if we take our fair share along with Dogberry and Tumbletown, wherever they may be-I use those names so nobody will accuse me of comparing our city with any other-we would receive approximately $38 million a year were such a program instituted.