Home > News Room > TEA in the News > Ford transit plan opponents converge on Toronto City Hall - Inside Toronto

Ford transit plan opponents converge on Toronto City Hall - Inside Toronto

April 1, 2011
David Nickle
Inside Toronto

Private sector funding for Sheppard subway raises ire.

Mayor Rob Ford's plan to replace Transit City's light rail network with subways in Scarborough - one funded almost entirely by private sector investment - drew protest from community leaders who said the plan leaves large parts of Toronto's suburban communities without transit improvement.

"It makes no sense that the mayor is willing to sacrifice fast, reliable transit in the west and in eastern Scarborough simply so he can bury the final eight kilometres of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT," said Robert Cerjanec, vice-president elect of the York University Student's Union.

Cerjanec was one of several community leaders who came to Toronto City Hall Friday, April 1, morning along with the Toronto Environmental Alliance, to register displeasure with the new transit plan unveiled by Ford and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty the day before.

The plan replaces Transit City - which would have run light rail lines along Eglinton, Sheppard Avenue East and Finch Avenue West - with an underground Eglinton crosstown line between Black Creek Drive and Kennedy Station, and a refurbished Scarborough RT.

The city, meanwhile, would take over the responsibility for funding nearly all of a $4.2 billion subway along Sheppard Avenue, extending east of Don Mills Station to the Scarborough Town Centre, and west from Yonge Street, to Downsview Station.

Ford said the plan would be funded substantially by private sector investment.

But community members pointed out that the line replaced a light rail line along Sheppard that had already begun construction - and were skeptical that any private sector funding could be raised to cover the cost.

"This leaves out a lot of people - a lot of people that needed change," said Mohamed El Rashidy, Director of the Canadian Arab Federation.

"I think of Scarborough, I think of the west side of Toronto. I ask all Torontonians - if you're a driver such as myself - and we drive often - if we're sitting in rush hour traffic, this is why we needed transit. If you don't use public transit and you're a driver, you're impacted just as much by the lack of public transit as you are if you use public transit."

David Poopalapillai, the national spokesperson for the Canadian Tamil Congress, said that while many Tamils supported Ford in the election last year, the new plan is a setback for all Torontonians.

"We always pride ourselves that we live in a world class city, but when it comes to transit we must ask do we have world class transit, and the answer is no," he said. "We expect Mayor Ford to have a world class transit plan but this plan falls short. I come from a community that uses a lot of transit day in and day out."

As originally published here: http://www.insidetoronto.com/news/cityhall/article/975299--ford-transit-plan-opponents-converge-on-toronto-city-hall

2011-04-01 Ford transit plan opponents converge on Toronto City Hall _Inside Toronto_.pdf33.95 KB