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Save Transit City Rally Stirs Dialogue from Disappointment

20100422transitcity.jpg
Photo by Andrew Louis/Torontoist.


“How many buses did it take you to get here?”
This was one of a series of questions posed to attendees of last night’s Public Transit Coalition launch at City Hall, an event aptly titled Save Transit City. The robustly attended public protest rallied against Premier Dalton McGuinty’s four-billion-dollar funding cut to Toronto’s Transit City projects—cuts that threaten a long-term delay or, quite possibly, the end of much of Transit City entirely.
Dissatisfaction with the city’s current transit model bubbled within the council chambers, and LRT—Light Rail Transit—was the catchphrase of the evening. According to the Public Transit Coalition’s website: “Every neighbourhood has a right to excellent, accessible public transit service. In Toronto this means that the Transit City Light Rail plan needs to be completed.” (This is paralleled in the pledge they asked the public, and are now asking politicians as well, to sign: “I agree that the TTC must be kept public, be properly funded by all levels of Government, and that the Transit City Light Rail plan be completed by 2020.”)
Barbara Stone, president of the Weston-Mt. Dennis Community Association, expressed frustration that the Eglinton Crosstown line, which has been under discussion since the mid-1980s and was slated to run the approximately thirty-three kilometres between Kennedy Station and Pearson Airport, might never come to fruition. Building and operating the route has the potential to revitalize her neighbourhood and many others by creating jobs, encouraging an influx of new customers to local businesses, and improving access to the city’s core.
As pointed out by Ashwin Balamohan,Toronto District School Board trustee candidate for Scarborough East, while the wealthier populations of Toronto are—at least generally speaking—adequately served by the city’s existing public transit routes, lower-income communities located further from the downtown core face long commutes and restricted job access, which in turn leads to a sense of political disengagement. “The provincial government needs to be shown that you can’t divide Torontonians against each other,” said Balamohan, to vigorous applause. These sentiments were echoed by Mayor David Miller, whose cameo appearance closed the event.
While the future of Transit City remains unclear, those interested in signing the pledge to save Transit City are encouraged to do so through Public Transit Coalition’s website.

Comments

  • http://undefined friend68

    You would think with so many of the urban seats up for grabs, Torontonians could make a real issue of this. Especially if the opposition takes a contrary position, like Mike Harris did back in the day with photo radar.

  • eller

    It took me all of 20 seconds to leave a message with my MPP this morning on the subject. I hope everyone else who is concerned with this also will too!

  • http://undefined phoyt

    It bugs me that they want us to “… agree that the TTC must be kept public, be properly funded by all levels of Government, and that the Transit City Light Rail plan be completed by 2020.” Insisting that it should be kept public complicates the issue unnecessary IMO.

  • http://undefined phoyt

    The TTC Riders agenda is much more straightforward – http://www.ttcriders.ca/
    Quote: If mayoral candidates want to debate privatization, let them do so, but only after they have had a vigorous debate about how best to get the Province back to the table.

  • http://undefined EricSmith

    It’s suggesting privatization that complicates the issue unnecessarily — transit in Toronto isn’t a money-maker in itself, so it will always have to be supported by public money. In that context, privatization is a license to print money for a private-sector operator at best.

  • http://undefined phoyt

    You’re probably right. But while I would sign a pledge get transit city back on track I wouldn’t sign their pledge to keep it public. It just so happens I don’t think there’s a problem with privatizing it, but I’m sure we can all agree that we need decent public transportation and a commitment from the province to pay for it.

  • http://undefined rek

    We need better-than-decent public transit, and we wouldn’t get it from a privately-owned TTC.