A Ford Fiasco In Toronto

There are many in the Metro Lobby crowd that think moneyAi??grows on trees and taxpayers just love paying more taxes and modern LRT is nothing more than an “European concept” andAi??not really applicable here in Canada or the USA. What is applicable for grand metro schemes is the extremely high cost of construction and I will wager, Toronto’s anti-tram/pro-carAi??Mayor Ford isAi??at the beginning ofAi??a very steep learning curve as to the costs and financing of heavy-rail metro, especially built inAi??subways.

The real question is, “How far will Mayor Ford go, sacrificing the Toronto taxpayer to fund needless metro construction to suit his political needs?”

Regional mayors in the Vancouver metro region have already answered that question by approving a two cent a litre gas tax to fund the questionable Evergreen Line.

 

Toronto Star

No early cash for Sheppard, province tells Ford

Published On Wed Nov 09 2011

Ontarioai??i??s new transportation minister says Mayor Rob Ford won’t get money in advance for the cityai??i??s privately financed Sheppard line. Fordai??i??s office is privately expressing confidence the Sheppard line will be built and that the provincial surplus will materialize.

DAVID COOPER/Toronto Star

David Rider Urban Affairs Bureau Chief
Ontarioai??i??s new transportation minister says Mayor Rob Ford will not get an advance on potential provincial funding for the cityai??i??s privately financed Sheppard line.

Bob Chiarelli told reporters after a media event marking the start of construction on the Eglinton-Crosstown line that, while Ford has received no formal response to his request for an advance on any surplus dollars from that provincial megaproject, the answer is no.

ai???Weai??i??re certainly working to be under budget and weai??i??re certainly going to honour that commitment if the money is there,ai??? Chiarelli said Wednesday. ai???But we canai??i??t give an answer now ai??i?? we canai??i??t advance money now on an amount thatai??i??s unknown.ai???

The news prompted Joe Mihevc, a Ford foe and former TTC vice-chair, to say in an interview: ai???I think that the Sheppard subway is dead.ai???

After Ford unilaterally scrapped plans for the provincially funded Transit City light rail network, he got the province to agree to bury most of the Eglinton line while, he said, the city would fulfill his campaign promise to extend the Sheppard subway to Scarborough Town Centre.

In August, amid talk he was having trouble finding private investors to help build Sheppard, Ford went to Queenai??i??s Park asking Premier Dalton McGuinty for early delivery on an agreement that the city would get up to $650 million from any Eglinton surplus.

ai???There could end up being zero, or there could end up being $650 million,ai??? Chiarelli said, adding that wonai??i??t be known ai???until some time from now.ai???

In fact, the province is privately estimating a $200 million surplus that could be eroded by challenges such as traversing the Don Valley. That figure has been shared with the city.

Gordon Chong, tasked by Ford to draft a financing plan for the $4.7 billion Sheppard line, told the Star his report next month will advocate building it ai???in phases, opening each new station as weai??i??re ready.ai???

Fordai??i??s office is privately expressing confidence the Sheppard line will be built and that the provincial surplus will materialize.

But Mihevc said the lack of government funding now, to stimulate investor interest in public-private partnerships, is likely to prove fatal to the project.

ai???All signs point to Sheppard being dead ai??i?? D-E-A-D, dead ai??i?? and I think the only thing that hasnai??i??t happened is the news becoming public.ai???

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