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Newsstand: July 4, 2013

In the U.S., it's a holiday today. Bet you like that. So the news, then: Mayor Rob Ford still really likes subways, the mayor's executive committee has decided to defer a decision on raising development fees for new homes, a report on the first phase of a study evaluating whether to allow jet traffic at Billy Bishop Airport should come out in the fall, and the jury's still out on whether the city will bail out Bixi.

newsstand jeremy kai spring 2

On Tuesday, the chief executive of Metrolinx indicated that the provincial transit agency was basically ready to wash its hands of the Scarborough subway project; yesterday, Mayor Rob Ford reiterated his commitment to bringing a subway to the ‘borough, and said he’s called on the city manager to report back to council on how the project could be paid for.

Speaking of maybe paying for transit, Mayor Rob Ford’s executive committee met yesterday and decided to defer until September a controversial decision on raising development fees for new homes. The fees, which a recently released staff report recommended nearly doubling, are intended to be used towards improving city infrastructure, including transit.

Also at yesterday’s executive meeting, the committee got an update on work being done to evaluate the potential Billy Bishop Airport expansion plan—the one that would allow jet traffic to go through. A report on the first phase of the study is slated to come out in September, with the final draft expected in November. Meanwhile, about two dozen speakers signed up to address the issue at yesterday’s executive committee meeting, but their numbers dropped off when the meeting ran into dinnertime. Hard to get all riled up about jet traffic when you’re plain hungry.

Another issue getting deferred is that of the age-old question of whether the city will choose to bail out its debt-ridden bike-sharing program, Bixi. The executive committee voted late yesterday to send the matter back to staff, though their exact directions to staff remain confidential. Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34, Don Valley East) said he was pleased with the outcome. So there’s that.

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