LRT victory in Toronto

Victory in Toronto as Mayor’s all subway plan defeated by council

Toronto’s Mayor Ford lost anti-light rail battle

“Ford loses council transit battle TTC chair’s proposal revises portions of Transit City plan”

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has lost his battle in the City Council to save his all-subway vision for future rail transit. Instead, the council voted 26-17 for Toronto Transit Commission [TTC] chair Karen Stintz’s plan for three light rail lines including subway-surface operation for Eglinton LRT.

AAi??great clip of the Mayor’s “contrite” reaction and the response when he calls Council’s vote “irrelevant”:

Mayor Rob Ford and TTC chair Karen Stintz are in favour of two distinctly different transit development plans, which councillors are debating Wednesday.TTC chair Karen Stintz said the proposal she brought forward was amended to keep some of the mayor’s concerns in mind.

Mayor Rob Ford was unsuccessful in a bid to delay a vote on the transit proposal brought forward by TTC chair Karen Stintz.

Toronto transit face-off

Toronto Transit Commission chair Karen Stintz’s transit proposal has been accepted by council, derailing Mayor Rob Ford’s plan to keep the Eglinton Crosstown LRT almost entirely underground.

A deeply divided council debated the two competing visions during a special meeting held at City Hall on Wednesday, with Stintz’s plan passing 26-17.

Stintz’s proposal calls for a light-rail line on Finch Avenue West, while moving ahead with the Eglinton Crosstown LRT development, but keeping its eastern stretch above ground.
Her proposal puts the Sheppard LRT off the table for now, while an advisory
panel reviews options for transit there.
Asked whether Ford will be able to support the proposal, Stintz said it had been amended to keep some of the mayor’s concerns in mind.
“What we’ve done is we’ve taken Sheppard out of the package,” Stintz told reporters Wednesday, after introducing her proposal.
“So the package will now read that light-rail will be built for Eglinton, Finch and the [Scarborough] RT replacement. But what we’re going to do is defer Sheppard off for further study.”
Earlier in the debate, Ford tried and failed to delay a vote on Stintz’s proposal.
His motion, which sought to have an expert panel review the options for extending the Eglinton line east of Laird Drive, was voted down 24-19.
Ford’s $8.4-billion plan to put an Eglinton line underground also included funding to replace the Scarborough RT with light rail, which is the same approach that would be taken under Stintz’s proposal.
That proposal includes elements from the Transit City plan developed under former mayor David Miller.
The transit debate gets underway at City Hall. The transit debate gets underway at City Hall. (Jeff Semple/CBC)
Ford had declared Transit City “over” after he became mayor, later striking a deal with the province to put the Eglinton line underground.
Coun. Josh Matlow said during the debate that Ford had repeatedly turned down compromises that could have averted the meeting that Stintz forced Wednesday, using a petition that was backed by 23 other councillors.
“We have gone to the mayor several times to propose compromises that he could frankly claim victory on,” Matlow said Wednesday.
But Matlow said in each case, the mayor “has not been willing” to accept a compromise option.
Mammoliti says plan rams LRT `down our throats’
Coun. Giorgio Mammoliti told reporters Wednesday that he opposes the proposal brought forward by Stintz because it will eliminate the possibility of a putting a subway along Finch Avenue.
“We don’t want an LRT along Finch Avenue, we want a subway. Don’t ram it down our throats,” Mammoliti said.

The prior Transit City plan called for a new light-rail on Finch. When Ford scrapped that plan, there were plans to enhance bus service, with an eye to upgrading to rapid transit at an unspecified date.
Scarborough councillors want Eglinton below grade Several Scarborough councillors, including Norm Kelly, have gone on record supporting the mayor’s plan to keep the Eglinton line underground.
“When you have the money, do it right,” Kelly said.
“And doing it right means that when you get the money, you build underground
Ford wanted to extend the Sheppard subway, but had not determined how the project would be funded.
Stintz’s opposition to the mayor’s vision for the Eglinton line has put her at odds with Ford and some of his allies.
Coun. Doug Ford, the mayor’s brother, recently said it was “a betrayal” for Stintz to back an opposing plan.
The Toronto Star in an editorial is hailing the City Council’s vote to dump Mayor Rob Ford’s all-subway vision for future rail transit and instead accept a light rail plan offered by Councillor Karen Stintz:\

“All aboard for light rail in Toronto”
(Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012)

TTC chair Karen Stintz deserves credit for leading the way in the transit
breakthrough at city council on Feb. 8.
Toronto’s transit future has been dramatically switched to a better track with the defeat of Mayor Rob Ford’s rash plan to build impractical subways.
City council’s decision Wednesday is more than just a landmark reversal for the Ford administration it provides a definitive verdict from the city of Toronto on how it intends to proceed. And it wants to ride into the future on light rail lines while further studying the practicality of a Sheppard subway extension.

Premier Dalton McGuinty and Metrolinx, the province’s transit coordinating agency, now have the clear direction from the city that they had requested.
So there’s no further reason for Queen’s Park to stall or dither in deciding how the province should now spend the $8.4 billion it has allocated for new Toronto transit.
To his shame, Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti urged Ontario to ignore city council’s majority vote and base provincial funding on polls indicating that people like subways. Councillor Doug Ford said much the same thing. It’s an absurd contention. Why have elections at all? What not just govern by polls alone? That’s not how democracy works.
And that’s what this decision is ultimately about. A little over a year ago, Toronto had a fully-funded, council-backed plan to extend a network of light rail lines across this city. That thoroughly studied, widely discussed plan was unilaterally declared “dead” by Ford on taking office.
He replaced it with a different vision one that involved spending almost the entire $8.4 billion on burying one light rail line and expecting the private sector to pay for a Sheppard subway. Ford’s only rationale: “People want subways.” Regrettably, the province went along with that flawed vision, but it still required city council support.
Well, council spoke on Wednesday, and it loudly advocated a return to light rail. A majority wisely realized that this approach offered the fastest transit, for the most people, for the best price. Toronto Transit Commission chair Karen Stintz deserves credit for leading the way in this breakthrough.
Normally a Ford supporter, she put the city’s transit needs ahead of hewing to the administration’s ill-judged official line.

Some subway advocates in the Ford administration are vowing to fight on,
against light rail lines, despite council’s clear verdict. That would be a mistake. At some point, the bickering over Toronto’s transit future needs to end. And that point is now.


2 Responses to “LRT victory in Toronto”
  1. John says:

    Great stuff! I’m thinking a certain politician is going to become quite ‘irrelevant’ after Toronto’s next mayoral elections….

  2. Teach 101 says:

    Sadly, those elections won’t be for THREE MORE YEARS, so we will have to put up with this fat &%#@ for a while.