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93 Comments

politics

Glen Murray: “We Are Not Negotiating a Deal” on a Scarborough Subway

Provincial transportation minister addresses reports that the Scarborough subway question has been reopened yet again.

Photo by Loozrboy from the Torontoist Flickr Pool

Photo by Loozrboy from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Early this morning the Globe and Mail reported that the municipal and provincial governments were close to a new deal on transit, one that would see Scarborough get a subway to replace the aging RT line rather than the previously agreed upon LRT. Not three hours later transportation minister Glen Murray, speaking to reporters at an unrelated event, muddied those waters further, saying that he was not in the middle of negotiations with the city, that council needed to make up its mind about what it wants instead of holding contradictory votes every few months, that if council wants a subway it also needs a zoning and development plan to substantially increase density along the route, and that in the end it would be Queen’s Park that makes the final decision.


“I am really not fussed if it’s a subway or an LRT…our goal is to give the people of Scarborough a sufficient level of transit…Am I ready to drop everything and say ‘okay, yeah, we’re just going to do a subway?’ No.”

A subway is projected to cost about $1 billion more than the LRT. It would be shorter and have fewer stops, but it would eliminate the need to transfer vehicles at Kennedy station. It is also appealing to many Scarborough voters, who are in the midst of a provincial by-election—transit may well be the ballot box question for them, and some Liberal MPPs have been pressuring the premier to opt for a subway rather than an LRT in hopes of retaining that seat.

Nobody is clear on where, if the city and the province did agree to build a subway rather than an LRT, the extra money required to build it would come from. Blasting LRT critics—and especially PC leader Tim Hudak—Murray also reminded everyone that the LRT would not run on existing roads, and would not take road space away from cars. With harsh words for Rob Ford as well, Murray called on Toronto’s mayor to stand with him and demand that the federal government contribute to major infrastructure projects, and it has often done in the past.


Related:

Comparison: LRT vs Subways for Scarborough


City council will debate the issue, once again, at its meeting on July 16. Murray emphasized this morning that if council decides it wants a subway, it can’t be a matter of a simple vote: they would need to include a robust economic development plan that would make a subway a financially prudent investment in the region, making the case that Scarborough residents wouldn’t just enjoy a subway, but that the area will become dense enough to need one.

Comments

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    Separate transit planning from city council and we wouldn’t have these contradictory votes every four months.

    • tomwest

      Technically, the TTC *is* seperate from council…

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        Yet council keeps coming up with plans for transit service that don’t make sense, or bogs down the ones that do. It shouldn’t be council’s place to draw lines on the map.

        • OgtheDim

          Unfortunately, people want somebody to complain to if what they want they don’t get.

    • dsmithhfx

      You’d have mpps doing essentially the same thing. There’d be fewer votes, and lots of horse-trading in smoke filled backrooms. And, the provincial government’s (of whatever party du jour) record of managing megaprojects has consistently been less than stellar.

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        I could have been clearer, but I didn’t mean we should upload transit planning to the province.

    • Canadianskeezix

      As long as transit funding requires substantial municipal and provincial funding, it is difficult to imagine politicians at either level agreeing to separate transit planning from paying the bills.

      The contradictory votes has less to do with politicians being involved, and more to do with a complete lack of leadership and an incoherent transit policy from our mayor’s office. If we had a mayor who had an actual transit plan, including a plan to pay for the plan, and who understood how to build consensus for that plan, we wouldn’t necessarily be in this mess.

      • dsmithhfx

        ‘Tis true. Miller got stuff done. Ford: nuthin.

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        Whether or not the mayor can lead council is unimportant in this regard. Any existing plan that doesn’t already have wheels or rails on the ground is at risk of being tossed aside at any point by anyone who can convince 22 other councillors that their plan is at least worth looking into. It wouldn’t have changed a thing if Ford had come into office with a coherent vision for transit and the backing of council, he still would have cancelled Transit City and set us back four years.

  • Dinah Might

    “Say it with me, folks… A ROBUST ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN THAT MAKES SUBWAYS A FINANCIALLY PRUDENT INVESTMENT IN THE REGION!! A ROBUST ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN THAT MAKES SUBWAYS A FINANCIALLY PRUDENT INVESTMENT IN THE REGION!! A ROBUST ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN THAT MAKES SUBWAYS A FINANCIALLY PRUDENT INVESTMENT IN THE REGION!!”

    • Crowie

      I really wish I could like this more than once. Well done.

  • Gordon Yarley

    You can’t have something for nothing. Either institute tolls, and taxes to pay for it, or stop promising us the sun when you can only deliver a look at a moon.

    • dsmithhfx

      It’s a big moon!

    • dsmithhfx

      Yeah, that’s the key isn’t it? It’s put up or STFU time.

  • Mark

    A subway costs more and would have fewer stops. An LRT would be cheaper, have more stops, and not run on the road. So why a subway?

    • OgtheDim

      Cause politicians in Scarborough want to play with the choo choo trains.

      • Mark

        Yeah, we keep hearing that politicians would score points supporting a subway – and this is what doesn’t make sense to me. The subway would provide less service for more money – how is that desired by people in Scarborough or anyone?

        • HotDang

          People like the idea of not having to transfer. I can’t think of another benefit.

          • Mark_G56

            Also, many in Scarb see how bad service is on RT and think if it is converted won’t be much difference. The transfer at Kennedy as it is now is quite bad… and finally replacing RT with busses while rebuilt for 3 (not 4 like Stinz is claiming) years just adds to frustration.

            Bad selling job, & “Scarborough deserves subways” is such a nice easy slogan. At some point have to have a terminal and move onto LRT & busses.

            If the by-elections were not happening in Scarb-Guildwood, doubt that Stinz would be pushing this hard. (Though it is also part of her bid to be the ‘better’ conservative candidate in next mayoral election.)

        • Crowie

          You’re assuming people are thinking rationally.

        • KRoberts

          Because: latte sipping downtown elitist cycling, roads are for cars, st.clair disaster, subways subways subways.

        • Functionalist

          The people of Scarborough want to waste our money.

    • Canadianskeezix

      I have not been following the issue like I should, but I thought that the issue was that the LRT would mean 3 additional years of no higher level transit along this corridor than a subway would, and the LRT has less capacity. Any merit to these issues?

      • Mark

        Yes – replacing the SRT with LRT would put the line out of service for ~3 years, and people would have to take shuttle buses. This, I think, is a reasonable argument for wanting a subway. The subway would be built while the SRT remains functional. But my guess is that the subway would take more than 3 years to build. As for capacity, I believe the proposed LRT would more than meet demand. Though you didn’t mention it, an LRT would go nearly as fast as a subway (a few km/h slower), but what makes the difference is the frequency of vehicles (how long you have to wait for a train), or what’s called ‘headway.’

        • OgtheDim

          LRT headways would be 10 minutes or less for up to 80% capacity of a Bloor train. Its far more adjustable then a subway.

          And, capacity costs, as does underground maintenance.

          BTW, the SRT is on its last legs and may have to close sooner then people think.

          • Mark

            Yes and yes, but I was looking at Steve Munro’s blog and he suggests the SRT has more life in it than we’re led to believe (I think I saw 5 years left).

          • dsmithhfx

            It would be a shame if the SRT ran out of life before it’s replacement came on line. It would criminally stupid to kill it first.

          • tyrannosaurus_rek

            The SRT is going to die before we make up our minds what to replace it with, so Scarberians better get used to the idea of shuttle buses.

          • atorontoguy

            Supposedly it would only take 3 months to upgrade the SRT to the latest tech from Bombardier, which is used internationally in places like Kuala Lumpur and Vancouver. Bigger cars, etc. And was estimated at $300 mil in 2006. The city has probably wasted 300 mil in dithering since then…

      • MER1978

        The SRT will have to be shut down in a few years regardless of the replacement option we choose… given that the new subway “plan” doesn’t even have an environmental assessment done… it will take at least a few years before we can even start digging… the idea that there will be no disruption with the subway option is pure BS.

  • OgtheDim

    So, the Globe got the story wrong again?

    • Dogma

      My sense is it’s probably Murray speaking out of both sides of his mouth on the issue. I bet he gets moved out of transportation at some point over the next year.

      • OgtheDim

        I’m thinking more Stintz planted the first one; there are bits in that which sound a lot like the reporting from her plan from months ago.

  • scottld

    politics vs planning.

  • MER1978

    So stupid to address future maybe who knows if it will ever happen needs when there are many areas without appropriate transit which have the needs TODAY.

    We’re already wasting millions subsidizing the Sheppard subway’s operation… now we have the Vaughan extension which hopefully Vaughan will pay for since it never should have been extended beyond York U… it’s funny how “conservatives” are the ones pushing these projects the most… stupid planning guaranteeing decades of waste… that’s the real gravy train.

  • iSkyscraper

    Why do people say “eliminate the need to transfer at Kennedy”? It will continue along Eglinton, mostly in a tunnel, and get a lot of people to the midtown office district without a transfer.

    At the end of the day, you spend money where engineering reasoning and urban planning says it makes the most sense:

    - streetcars and bike infrastructure downtown
    - subway trunk lines to the inner suburbs
    - LRT lines in the outer suburbs to feed the subway trunk line terminals
    - commuter rail to outside the city
    - buses all points inbetween

    What’s so hard to understand? Ford, and now Wynne, are trying to buy votes from low-information voters and I’m sick of it. Leave the plans alone, build the LRT lines as planned, then get cracking on the DRL as the next project. Christ.

    • MER1978

      I love the whole “eliminate the need to transfer” selling point like it’s such a burden to walk up or down some stairs to another line.

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        Not to mention that the hypothetical Scarborough line would grind to a halt along with the B-D line when someone hits a PAA at Chester, or there are signal problems at Bathurst. Why would they want that?

      • OgtheDim

        Some guy on the Globe this morning was saying that they have to….OH MY GOSH…..use 3 escalators to get to the subway from the SRT.

        I take 4 flights of stairs to get to my subway every morning and then 2 flights and 2 escalators to get to my bus. Its my morning exercise.

        That and the plan was/is to bring the crosstown into Eglinton on the mezzanine so people only have to go up one flight.

    • OgtheDim

      “At the end of the day, you spend money where engineering reasoning and urban planning says it makes the most sense:”

      Yes, but in the middle of the day, you spend money sending lines down the middle of the Spadina Expressway to justify its existence, out to Vaughan because the provincial finance minister is from there, along Sheppard because the mayor drives down that area to get to work (with the help of a certain mustachioed councillor who doesn’t want anymore streetcars in his ward..but shhhh…keep that one quiet), and now out to a mall because everybody in Scarborough wants what everybody else seems to have.

      • iSkyscraper

        Exactly correct. While there is nothing wrong with the existing 1970s Spadina line, the extension to Vaughan was idiotic and wrong. The existing Sheppard line was an unmitigated disaster that will long be studied in transportation planning classes (should have been a branch/wye, not a separate line) and Ford’s proposed extensions are in the wrong direction and were rightfully killed. And now the SRT is being played with in an even worse manner than it’s politically-driven origins.

        No other city in North America has local councillors running their transit agency. Even San Francisco, the only other large transit property still owned by its municipality (as opposed to its metro region or state) has a board of non-politicians.

        Get the politicians out of the TTC!

        • OgtheDim

          The existing Spadina line could have gone up Dufferin. A horse trading night at Metro Council had it go up the Allen.

          Imagine the density potential of Dufferin with a subway along it.

          • Functionalist

            Bathurst was also an option. Either street would have probably ended up like Yonge with a subway beneath it: walkable, densely built up and polished.

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        “…with the help of a certain mustachioed councillor who doesn’t want anymore streetcars in his ward..but shhhh…keep that one quiet…”

        You keep bringing this up, but what was his stated reason for it?

        • OgtheDim

          Stated? Layton never stated. Back then councillors didn’t state why they did things as there actions were only reported in the papers. Remember, there were no blogs, no live streams, no #topoli scoobies, and anybody wanting to find out who voted on what had to do some serious research.

          But those who were watching (I cite Steve Munro on this one) indicate there was a quid pro quo to reduce streetcar expansion in Layton’s ward.

    • Don River

      I already told you this would happen. What’s so hard to understand? Accept it and move on.

      • Testu

        Why should anyone accept that our transit dollars (from our taxes and fares) are being wasted due to bad, politically driven, policy?

        If the current Scarborough RT line has the necessary ridership for a subway line, feel free to show us. I linked you to all of those ridership stats the last time we discussed this. However, if it doesn’t have the ridership (it doesn’t and you know that already) then admit that you are advocating wasting everyone’s money on naked vote buying. You know, the same thing the Liberals already got in trouble for once this year.

        • Don River

          Accept it, and move on.

          • OgtheDim

            Cause maybe the province isn’t accepting it.

          • Don River

            They basically already have accepted it by agreeing to open the master agreement if the city votes for a subway.

          • Testu

            No, they haven’t. Murray said they would consider it if they were presented with something substantial. Since the mayor has already rejected the recommended property tax increases suggested in the report (http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=193519 ). I’d say that the plan is still lacking some substance. The mayor has also said that he will outright scuttle the plan if it is not given $1.8bln by Metrolinx. Metrolinx has stated that only 1.4bln would be available at most.

          • Don River

            Why exactly do you this this issue is rearing its head smack dab in the middle of by-elections? Are you really that naive?

          • Testu

            Have been reading any of my comments? Obviously everyone involved is trying to use this as a means to buy votes. The thing is everyone involved (municipal and provincial) is also looking to pass the buck for implementation costs on to someone else, so that if this goes tits-up due to lack of funding it’s not their fault.

            So Murray can safely say that they’ll reopen the agreement if they see a comprehensive plan to pay for the line, because Rob Ford himself will do everything is his power to avoid coming up with any money, new or otherwise.

          • Don River

            Okay, you really are that naive.

          • Testu

            Please then, expand my world view with your knowledge.

          • Don River

            $3.99 per minute from this point on.

          • Testu

            Well played.

          • Testu

            Nope. Not a chance.

            See how obnoxious that is. If you have an argument for why we should accept it, feel free to post it.

          • Don River

            Nope or what? How many votes do you have on Council? Same as me — zero.

            It’s obvious to anyone who isn’t blind what Council is going to do. But if you want to start up a big protest at City Hall, good luck with that.

          • Testu

            I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, writing my councillor and agitating for numbers based transit planning.

            If council decides to try to sink 2+ billion dollars into a three stop vanity line for Scarborough, that’s their prerogative, I don’t have to accept it or move on though. Hell, I will bring up this ridiculous waste of resources every single time someone complains about service on the TTC. The blame will be squarely on Karen Stinz and every idiot who decides that transit service should be a carrot for voters.

          • Don River

            Yet you’re not concerned at all that we wasted a good chunk of $8 billion by spending exactly none of that money on what is (and was) easily our greatest need, a DRL.

            Good to know.

          • Testu

            In the context of this specific discussion, no, I’m not.

            I’m not happy about planning around the DRL either, but it doesn’t make building a money losing line that serves very few people a good idea. Especially when the original version of particular line has already gone through the planning, approval and funding stages.

          • Don River

            Then you’re nothing but a Giambrone apologist. No better than a Ford apologist.

          • Testu

            Go on, point out where I wrote a defence for anything Giambrone did.

            I’m arguing the subject at hand, not another transit subject that is connected rather indirectly to what the article is about.

          • Functionalist

            No, we have to vote Rob Ford out of office.

          • Don River

            Wouldn’t make a difference to this situation. Ford’s just along for the ride.

  • OgtheDim

    You know, given that Canada was created as a continuation of John A.’s land grab/railroad scheme (“No, put it there boys; I own land there and can build a town”), it doesn’t surprise me that we are still doing transit based on political whims.

  • dsmithhfx

    I don’t want to pay taxes. I need the moon on a stick.

  • Don River

    It’s fascinating to see some calling for politicians to be removed from transit decision-making. As if we’d ever give unelected bureaucrats the final say on billion-dollar projects!

    At the same time some are fretting because we’re messing with the Transit City master plan, or what’s left of it. When Miller and Giambrone came up with Transit City in 2007, it had nothing in common with existing TTC long-range plans (and there was really little left on the books by 2006 other than the Sheppard extension, which lost out to Spadina the year before). This is confirmed by the fact that all supporting studies for Transit City were carried out AFTER it came out. As I recall from science class, the conclusions come last not first.

    So to summarize what seems to be the prevailing sentiment, politicians meddling in one Scarborough project is bad, but politicians releasing a major transit expansion plan without any research behind it (or a DRL in it) is good.

    • Testu

      What’s bad is scrapping a fully funded transit plan that serves more people over a larger area for one that has at least a $500 million funding gap, possibly closer to a $1 billion. The subway plan will require years of studies and environmental assessments before construction can begin. And unless the ridership magically jumps by %100 it will be operating at a significant loss for the foreseeable future, placing an increased strain on the TTC’s resources, resources that could go to improving transit in other parts of the city.

      So even if Stinz/Ford can find a way to pay for the construction of the line (it won’t just be Scarborough paying), it will still be draining more than its share of resources from the rest of the system for years. All this for what? To remove a single transfer at Kennedy? Because Scarborough deserves subways?

      Using transit promises to buy votes is bad, it doesn’t matter who is doing it or when it happened last. Every single time it happens it sets transit in this city back even further.

      • Don River

        Fully-funded maybe, but not exactly shovel-ready. The province kept delaying construction schedules to help manage its deficit.

        This isn’t 2008 when Miller and Giambrone passed an unstudied plan through a far more docile Council. But hey, you’ve now got Giambrone fighting for his vision and legacy in a by-election. Hello third place!

        • Testu

          The construction schedules were also delayed because the project was improperly cancelled by mayor Ford. Construction would have begun by now if not for that stunt.

          As it is you can look forward to further delays (for studies, EAs, financing, etc.) as the wheels fall off the SRT.

          And if they manage to cancel the SRT replacement but fail to secure sufficient funding for the subway line you can look forward to a decade or more of BRT service.

          Regardless of who was playing politics with this line in the past, it was designed, funded and ready to build.

          • Don River

            Yeah Ford cancelled it (improperly or otherwise) but so what? After the province threatened to pull $8 billion of funding from Toronto, Stintz overrode Ford in 2012 and reinstated what was previously on the table, and now there’s a lot of support on Council to revisit that. But if the original one-size-fits-all LRTs-for-everyone DRL-for-no-one Transit City was really such a great a plan, it would have been able to withstand any political maneuverings.

            I’m not worried about the wheels falling off the RT. They’ve already changed the expected date of its death at least twice.

            York Region began with nothing and got the Yonge EA off the ground, finished, and almost secured funding in about a year. But YR is smart enough to get its priorities right from the outset and line up political support to achieve its goals. And ironically, Giambrone co-sponsoring Yonge in October, 2008 was really the beginning of the end for his full TC vision. Even before Ford, Yonge proved the overwhelming appeal of subways to the Toronto public. What’s going on now is only further proof of that.

          • Testu

            You know, I still have no idea what point you’re making.

            Are you saying that the LRT replacement is not sufficient for the needs of the line? Are you saying that a subway despite its drawbacks in every single metric is a better option? Or are you arguing that because a few councillors and some potential MPPs see this as a ticket to getting (re)elected we should just do whatever and damn the costs, present and future?

          • Don River

            I’m saying you can’t see the political reality for the trees.

    • OgtheDim

      Prior to 2006, TTC long range planning was subway focused. There was, and remains, an active group within the TTC that hates LRT.

      Trusting that bureaucracy for a coherent plan is a poor choice.

      Like it or not, the TTC is a political beast both inside and at the commission level.

      Regardless, LRT is the best choice and suggesting its not because the TTC prior to a certain date didnt like it is, again, a poor choice.

  • EDMUNDOCONNOR

    “if council wants a subway it also needs a zoning and development plan to substantially increase density along the route”

    Can you see that happening under Ford? Neither can I.

    The Liberals have said okay to a subway, but are relying on attaching so many strings to it, that they know Ford will be honour-bound not to sign on to it. That way, they hope to get the bounce from being pro-subway, while never having to spend a dime on it.

    • dsmithhfx

      The deal that seems to be shaping up is the province kicks in the already-committed money for the LRT, and the city debt-finances the balance. Let the future pay for it!

      • Testu

        To be fair, that’s how the original subway lines were built. It was a good idea then.

        You can’t expect people to understand why this might not be exactly the same.

        • OgtheDim

          Easier to debt finance when your city is growing out.

        • dsmithhfx

          I totally agree that it should be debt financed but, as seems likely, Ford and his merry band of neocon dinosaurs will not countenance raising any new revenues, but will continue to to insist on flatlining, and nickle-and-diming down existing ones, the existing TTC infrastructure (and everything else in this city) will continue to deteriorate. And that will be a shame.

          • Testu

            I’m not saying debt financing should not be used to pay for infrastructure improvements, in fact I definitely believe that it should be used.

            I don’t think that it should be used in this specific case because I don’t believe that the SRT should be replaced with a subway. There’s no need to debt finance something that’s already funded, for example, the Scarborough LRT line.

          • dsmithhfx

            You seem to be missing the point that a subway would be a significant upgrade, more expensive and thus require financing to cover the shortfall. You may well argue it’s an unnecessary upgrade, but it would appear that train has left the station, to coin a phrase.

          • Testu

            Given that the proposed subway would service fewer people in a smaller area than the current SRT I would argue that it’s not an upgrade at all.

      • EDMUNDOCONNOR

        “That’s a problem for future Toronto!”

  • Testu

    John Lorinc over at Spacing has a great article on why a Scarborough subway extension is likely to come at a cost of cancelling several other expansion projects through out the city.

    http://spacing.ca/toronto/2013/07/12/lorinc-8-things-to-consider-about-the-scarborough-subway/

    • Don River

      The DRL wasn’t officially Toronto’s priority subway project (never mind Metrolinx) until 2012. In fact it wasn’t any priority at all until 2012. Toronto’s incompetence is why we’re still scrambling to get the DRL on the agenda. A B-D extension possibly replacing LRT has had little effect on that.

      York Region hardly needs this to help them push Yonge. They already succeeded with Spadina winning over Sheppard in 2005, something no one would have predicted a year or two earlier, and only budget cuts prevented Yonge from happening a few years later. YR has Yonge at the front of the line because of hard work and foresight. They BEGAN their process by making the right choice. We waited five years…..and we’re still not quite sure

      • Testu

        Why do you keep bringing up the DRL like it’s relevant to this discussion?

        A Bloor-Danforth subway extension into Scarborough is a bad idea entirely on its own merits. Regardless of what other plans may or may not have been priorities for the TTC in the past, the ScarboroughRT line does not have the ridership to support a subway line*. Nor is it likely to in the future due to the proposed routing being through primarily low density residential and industrial areas.

        It is a bad idea that will lose money and further burden the existing system. It’s been voted down three separate times now, it’s only being considered again because a few political opportunists believe it will buy them votes from the we deserve subways crowd.

        *It has lower daily ridership than several bus lines.

        • Don River

          Why do you keep avoiding a DRL like it’s not relevant? Sorry, but I think it’s incredibly relevant that we had $8 billion to spend on transit (an extreme rarity) and we used exactly none of it on our biggest transit need. I cannot and will never excuse incompetent transit planning such as that. Only an extreme, partisan apologist would.

          And stop with your bullsh;t about Transit City studies. We all know they were commissioned after TC was released, and that all the “conclusions” from these studies agreed with Transit City (another miracle!). The TTC Chair ran the show, not the TTC.

          The TTC is saying right now that a B-D extension meets the lower end of ridership suitable for a subway. SCC is also the only growth centre in the city without a subway. Back when Yonge was extended to Finch in 1973 (and there was nothing at Finch), they turned back trains at Eglinton until 1980. I can only imagine how much you would have argued against that extension if you were around then.

          I’m guessing you have a vested interest in this beyond being a private citizen. Toronto Environmental Alliance??

          • Testu

            The ridership numbers have nothing to do with Transit City, unless you’re suggesting that the TTC fabricated the ridership data.

            Can you point out to me where “the TTC is saying right now that a B-D extension meets the lower end of ridership suitable for a subway.“? I’ve missed that. I also find it odd sine the SRT has lower ridership than Finch and Sheppard bus routes, as well as about 10 000 fewer riders per day than the Sheppard subway line.

            And the DRL is not the least bit relevant to the discussion of an article that is about city council re-opening debate on a Scarborough SRT replacement.

            And, no I’m not a member of Toronto Environmental Alliance or any other lobbying group. I’m just a guy that has to deal with transit through the GTA on a daily basis. Anything that takes money away from the rest of the system for reasons other than demonstrable need for service bothers me, because it means less service everywhere else.

          • Don River

            The DRL will ALWAYS be relevant to me when discussing a plan that completely shut out a DRL during an era when billions were available. It’s the worst transit planning debacle in this city’s history, and I bring it up every chance I get..

            That colossal failure has played a big part in leading directly to where we are.

          • Testu

            I’ll concede the point there, you are right about bringing up previous failures of planning, especially when fresh new ones are in the works.

            And I can see the argument that the original Transit City plan was politically motivated, it offered massively improved transit to the suburbs (I think it was needed) when downtown development should have been a higher priority.

  • Functionalist

    $1 billion so you don’t have to walk across a platform at Kennedy Station? (That’s how the new LRT would probably be set up.) This project represents an unprecedented waste of money. With wasteful projects like this one, forget about transit investment that’s really needed, like the Relief Line.