After a flurry of transit announcements in the last week, the Mayor is gearing up for what could be a very heated meeting of the Executive Committee.
The future of transit in Toronto is up for discussion, as well as the possible funding formula to pay for all of it.
In the last week alone, we have learned the one-stop subway extension to the Scarborough Town Centre will cost nearly $1 billion more than the original estimate, and that bumps up the cost to roughly $3 billion.
Even with the increase, Mayor John Tory wants to go ahead with it.
“I’m just saying now we’ve got to get on with it. Yes it’s expensive for all transit and we have become champion debaters in Toronto at not building transit, and debating it instead. We’ve got to reverse that. And I am determined to do it, and I’m determined to do it in a way that’s honest and open. It’s not free. We’ve got to get it done. I’m anxious to build more transit in the next 15 years than we have built in the last 50.” – Mayor John Tory
Tory’s comments come a day after his opinion piece about the Scarborough subway was published in the Toronto Star.
Some have taken issue with this portion of the piece: “Many of the subway’s loudest critics do not live or work in Scarborough, where more than half the population is born outside of Canada. When they say this is too much to spend on a subway, the inference seems to be that it’s too much to spend on this part of the city.”
The Mayor was quick to defend that.
“I was making a very simple statement. Scarborough, 625,00 people live there, is dramatically under served by public transit. And we are simply talking here about extending the Bloor-Danforth line, something they talked about as far as 1968, so that people who live in Scarborough will have equal access to opportunity. They don’t now. They are the only part of the city where their city centre is not hooked up to the rest of the city by high order transit, like a subway.”
There are about thirty people scheduled to speak to the committee about transit and how it can be paid for.
A recently released report outlined a few possible scenarios, including new taxes for parking, alcohol and congestion, which collectively could bring in millions.
“We are decades behind when it comes to transit and as Mayor I’m driven by one principle: to move this city forward, productively, responsibly and collaboratively.”