It’s official: Eglinton is getting its transit line—the same one developed as part of former mayor David Miller’s Transit City plan—only most of it is going underground, and Finch West is getting no transit at all. As was widely reported yesterday afternoon, the provincial and municipal governments have agreed on a new approach for expanding transit in Toronto, leaking details yesterday and making a formal announcement just a few moments ago. Despite the fanfare, this deal includes no new money—rather, the existing pot previously intended for Transit City’s four light rail lines has been reallocated to just cover Eglinton and the conversion of the deteriorating Scarborough RT to LRT.
This leaves the other two planned and hitherto funded Transit City lines, Sheppard and Finch, out completely.
Though many media outlets described today’s deal as a $12.4 billion plan for transit, in fact it is still only an $8.2 billion plan. Rob Ford has proclaimed his intention of raising the other $4.2 billion, required to build a Sheppard subway (instead of the originally planned LRT), via public-private partnerships, but no actual partnerships are in place at the moment. Finch, meanwhile is slated for “enhanced bus service” instead of a structural upgrade, a deep loss for one of the most crowded routes in Toronto. Though Ford trumpeted the shorter wait times on Eglinton this plan would create at this morning’s presser, he made no mention of the sixty-four minute commute riders of the full length of the Finch 36 bus now face.
“We will take it to council at the appropriate time,” Ford said of his Sheppard subway, though he did not mention council votes on the reallocation of the province’s $8.2 billion previously earmarked for Transit City. “Ladies and gentlemen, the people of Toronto want subways. They elected me to build subways. Today we are doing exactly what the taxpaers want us to do.”