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Former councillor to help find Sheppard subway funding - CBC

TTC chair, staff excluded from transit planning

April 7, 2011
CBC News

The office of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has hired a former councillor to help build a business case for extending the Sheppard subway, circumventing city staff and his own TTC chair who are already paid to do such work.

Former TTC vice-chair Gordon Chong, who was also a councillor in the old city of North York, will be paid $100,000 per year as the CEO of Toronto Transit Infrastructure Limited, a long-dormant TTC body that has now been revived. It is not clear if he will stay on for a full year.

The group also includes the mayor's brother Coun. Doug Ford and Coun. Norm Kelly, who sits on the TTC board. It will try to secure funding from a $1.2 billion federal public-private partnership program for the Sheppard extension. The meetings of the company will not be open to the public.

"A business case along the lines that we're discussing — financing for a subway — would normally be done by the city of Toronto," said TTC general manager Gary Webster, who doesn't appear to be on board with Ford's plan.

"The mayor's plan is a different plan. It's a plan based on a different policy, a different approach to transit in the city," he said.


No comment from mayor's office

TTC Chair Karen Stintz said the decision to exclude the TTC from the process to secure funding wasn't hers.

"It was an application for federal Canada funding. And so it was deemed by the mayor's office that this was an appropriate way to move forward," she said.

Jamie Kirkpatrick, a Toronto transit watcher, said he doesn't expect to hear why.

"Well we have all tried to talk to the mayor's office. We know he doesn't answer our calls," he said.

The mayor's office wouldn't comment on the matter.

The $4.2 billion Sheppard extension is one of two major parts of Ford's transit plan, the other being a 25-kilometre light rail line along Eglinton Avenue, most of which will be underground.

While the full cost of the $8.2-billion Eglinton Crosstown line will be borne by the province, there is no guaranteed funding for the Sheppard extension. Ford said he hopes to finance it through public-private partnerships and funding from senior governments.

As originally published here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/story/2011/04/07/sheppard-subway-funding653.html

2011-04-07 Former councillor to help find Sheppard subway funding _CBC_.pdf15.66 KB