“Backroom” Deal Leaves Suburbs Without Any New Provincially Funded Transit

For Immediate Release 
March 7, 2011

“Backroom” Deal Leaves Suburbs Without Any New Provincially Funded Transit

Toronto: The proposed compromise transit plan, developed behind the closed doors of Mayor Ford and Premier McGuinty’s offices, will deliver half the transit promised in Metrolinx’s so called 5 in 10 plan, for the same $8.7 Billion cost, unfairly leaving the suburbs out.

“Strip away the unfunded Sheppard subway extensions, which won’t be funded with provincial tax dollars, and you are left with a pretty bare bones plan that does nothing for the suburbs. It’s no wonder the Mayor and Premier have said nothing about getting public feedback or promised a City Council vote on the plan,” said Jamie Kirkpatrick, Transit Campaigner with the Toronto Environmental Alliance. “The Mayor and Premier appear to have settled on a ‘less for more plan’ that ignores the overcrowded buses on Finch Avenue West and does nothing for people east of the Scarborough City Centre.”

The Province has committed $8.7 Billion to build a light rail transit network across Toronto. Since December 1st, when Mayor Ford declared “Transit City” dead, Toronto’s transit users have been waiting for a new plan to be brought forward.

Today the Toronto Environmental Alliance (TEA) released two maps showing how much light rail transit will be built for $8.7 Billion by the proposed plan vs. the original Metrolinx plan. The proposed plan would use provincial money to needlessly bury all of the light rail transit planned for Eglinton Avenue from Jane Street to Kennedy station (instead of surfacing at Laird Ave as originally planned) and to replace the old Scarborough RT vehicles with new light rail vehicles. For the same amount of money, the Metrolinx plan would build 52 km of light rail transit both above and below ground along Eglinton, Finch Avenue West, Sheppard Avenue East, and would use new LRT to improve and expand the Scarborough RT.

“Essentially, people along Finch West and in east Scarborough are being left out of this compromise plan for the sake of needlessly burying 8 km of LRT under Eglinton Avenue,” said Kirkpatrick. “This is not fair to Torontonians who live in the suburbs. They deserve their fair share of the $8.7 Billion.”

TEA’s maps show that the Province’s $8.7 Billion can either build 52 km of new light rail transit serving 460,000 Torontonians or 25 km of new light rail serving 217,000 Torontonians.

“Ultimately, whatever plan is eventually brought forward, Torontonians across the city have been clear that they want to have a say in shaping Toronto’s transit future,” said Kirkpatrick. “Real public consultation on transit expansion is required and must be followed by a vote at City Council. To do otherwise flies in the face of the transparency and customer service our Mayor promised to deliver whenhe took office.”

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For more information:
Jamie Kirkpatrick at jamie@torontoenvironment.org