Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Rob Ford to cut off rapid transit to his supporters

Mayor Ford’s first stop: Hit brakes on Transit City | Posted Toronto | National Post
The Transit City plan, already budgeted for and currently being built, would have brought rapid transit to many suburban areas of Toronto. Ford's plan is to cancel this (incurring millions of dollars in penalties to contracts already signed), thus cutting off his supporters from rapid transit, and replace this with another tiny piece of the Scarborough subway line. Hopefully, the council will not vote for this madness.

Toronto Star: Provincial showdown brewing over Transit City

In an earlier meeting with TTC staff, Ford’s transition team asked what it would take to stop work on the light rail lines being funded by Metrolinx on Eglinton, the Scarborough RT route and Finch.

Because Metrolinx and the federal government are funding the Sheppard line, outgoing transit commissioners have maintained that Ford doesn’t have the authority to cancel the work.

The TTC has to take its direction from the commissioners on the transit commission, said one city councillor. The first meeting of the new commission doesn’t happen until Dec. 15.

Voters enticed by Ford’s promise of a subway should remember other cancelled transit projects, said one city councillor, including the Eglinton subway where tunneling was begun only to have the hole filled in by Premier Mike Harris’s government.

In Ottawa, a cancelled light rail project cost taxpayers about $100 million and in the end they got nothing for their money, the councillor said.


Metrolinx also has a special interest in protecting the centerpiece of Transit City, the Eglinton Crosstown line, which would run underground for half of the 20 kilometres scheduled to be built in the first phase of work.

“The Eglinton Crosstown is the most significant regional project. It runs across the entire city. It connects into the regional transportation system at GO stations. It connects to Pearson ultimately. So it’s a really important project. Certainly Metrolinx would like to make sure the most important regional project is preserved as we go forward, because… we want to achieve reasonable transportation outcomes,” said McCuaig.

The city councillor tapped to head up the next transit commission says she hasn’t been consulted or invited to Wednesday’s meeting between Ford and Webster.

“I believe we have an opportunity to look at how we revise the Metrolinx plan,” said Karen Stintz, who supported Miller’s efforts to secure Transit City funding but acknowledged Ford’s opposition to light rail.

Departing TTC chair Adam Giambrone said it’s unlikely the province would be willing to throw away the money already invested in Transit City.

But he downplayed suggestions that Queen’s Park might take over Toronto transit in light of the changing direction of the mayor’s office. It’s unlikely the province would want the responsibility of covering the TTC’s operating subsidy, he said.

The city provided about $500 million in operating funds this year, including Wheel-Trans. The TTC is also projecting a $2.6 billion capital shortfall for the next 10 years.

Meantime, Transit City defenders are planning to seek public support in wards of councillors who are backing Ford’s agenda. They plan their first door-to-door canvass in Karen Stintz’s ward Saturday.

Calls to Ford’s press secretary and transition team were not returned Tuesday.

Globe & Mail: Ford council vote on Transit City to decide fate of provincially-funded LRTs
... the province has already spent $130-million and signed $1.3-billion in contracts.

Globe & Mail: Ford to come out swinging on his first day in office
If Ford cancels Transit City, the city will end up having to pay billions of dollars on already signed contracts that the province and the federal government have already paid a lot for, and get absolutely nothing in return. And, then the city won't be able to pay for the bit of subway line Ford wants instead. The city won't be able to pay for anything.
I thought Ford wanted to stop wasting money. Cancelling Transit City would not only be the biggest waste of money in the history of Toronto, but it would result in no new transit at all for the city.

Excerpt from above link:

Sources say they made clear that extending the Sheppard subway from its existing terminus at Don Mills to Scarborough Town Centre – Mr. Ford’s preference – would cost $4-billion more than the Sheppard East LRT.

The subway addition would be eight kilometres and seven stations; the LRT would be 12 kilometres and 26 stations, according to documents the TTC presented at the meeting.

Some $34.1-million had been spent on the Sheppard LRT as of Sept. 30. Another $228-million had been committed through Nov. 1, the documents say.

No comments: