Toronto’s ‘SkyTrain’ Is Not Going Softly In The Night

The end of ‘SkyTrain’ service in Toronto is nearing and it seems the subway replacement is now treading on financial thin ice.

LRT is the big bogey man of both light and heavy metro supporters, simply because LRT has proven far more economic to operate than light metro and can economically cater to loads at the lighter end of the scale of heavy rail (read subway) planning.

Politicians definitely don’t like that, especially when they have pinned their election hopes on a multi billion dollar subways and all the billions of dollars of taxpayer’s money funneling to politcal corporate friends and insiders.

In Canada, building subways is a sure thing to get elected and when it is time to pay the piper, the politicians involved are all sunning themselves in retirement with a taxpayer paid six figure pension!

 

Toronto council rejects attempt to get more information about returning to the Scarborough LRT plan

Jennifer Pagliaro
By Jennifer PagliaroCity Hall Bureau

Wed., March 10, 2021

It’s been 2,710 days since Toronto city council voted to kill the only fully funded rapid transit plan for Scarborough, and Josh Matlow sounds tired.

The Ward 12 (Toronto-St. Paul’s) councillor, who has led what some have seen as a quixotic push to build a network of LRTs in the eastern suburb, was again voted down by council on Wednesday evening.

Council voted 15 to 7 to scrap his attempt at getting more information about returning to the LRT plan to replace the aging Scarborough RT.

Matlow’s motion came after the TTC reported in February that commuters would be subject to at least seven years of shuttle buses based on the necessary closure of the SRT in 2023.

A three-stop subway plan, resurrected by Premier Doug Ford, is still not fully funded. If built as planned, the current schedule for completion is 2030.

“This isn’t a transit debate anymore,” Matlow told the Star just ahead of the vote. He directed his comments to his colleagues. “You know what the outcome is: That Scarborough residents get screwed. So given that knowledge are you now ready to do the right thing?”

The debate over Scarborough transit took a significant turn on Oct. 8, 2013, when a majority of council members under Mayor Rob Ford’s administration voted to scrap a seven-stop LRT that was fully funded by the provincial government in favour of a more expensive three-stop subway the city couldn’t yet afford, and for which planning justification was lacking.

Taxes for every Toronto homeowner were raised to cover the difference.

After Mayor John Tory took office, he pushed for a one-stop alternative that was hoped to be cheaper as costs for a three-stop exceeded the available funds.

But after Premier Ford, previously a city councillor in favour of the subway, took office, he brought back the three-stop subway and superseded city plans

Matlow described his feelings ahead of Wednesday’s decision as simply “sadness.”

Sadness, he said, for the lack of information that has been provided to council and members of the public, for councillors he said who know what the right decision is and for commuters.

Coun. Paul Ainslie, who seconded the motion and who is the only Scarborough-area councillor to support subway alternatives, challenged what he said was “rhetoric” from his colleagues who wrongly claimed Wednesday the subway plan was essentially ready to go.

“We’re on a merry-go-round in Scarborough and part of that merry-go-round exists because we never get accurate information,” he said.

The failed motion also asked for the release of consultants’ reports on the life extension of the SRT — which have only been provided largely redacted to the Star through a Freedom of Information request.

“What I would like to see is that I don’t have to learn what’s happening about Scarborough transit because a reporter filed an FOI and within the FOI material that they write an article on there’s a whole lot of black lines,” said Ainslie (Ward 24 Scarborough-Guildwood).

Other councillors challenged their subway-supporting colleagues for their responsibility for the years of buses to come.

“It’s time for the advocates for these fantasy transit systems to own up to it,” said Coun. Gord Perks (Ward 4 Parkdale-High Park).

Comments

2 Responses to “Toronto’s ‘SkyTrain’ Is Not Going Softly In The Night”
  1. Narhan Davidowicz says:

    Every Municipal and Provincial government in Canada has made big mistakes on Transit and Active Transportation projects.
    Federal Government is just going with the flow and does not have proper oversight over Billions of public money being spent
    Need a proper independent office to advise us of how to spend our money wisely on Transit.
    Mode split outside Montreal and Toronto is too low and need to spend lots of money in Canada for many cities/regions to catch up to other Countries..

  2. Haveacow says:

    There’s plenty of money for this project, it even says in the article that it is now paid for. The issue is that another subway line extension project, the Yonge Street North project is facing a budget shortfall and several stations are being shelved. Metrolinx the provincial funding and transit planning agency is looking at putting half of the Yonge Street North subway extension at grade to save even more money. This upsets a whole wack of people in especially York Region (they are the main backers of this project, not the City of Toronto), “why does the Scarborough extension (Bloor-Danforth subway extension) get full provincial funding, when our subway project gets slightly downsized?” At this point, a pro LRT politician figures he can get, “one more kick at the can”, to prove his point. Everyone is basically trying to re-fight the endless, “my line first before yours debate” which is never-ending in the Toronto area!

    You notice Zwei, the debate over the Scarborough extension was quiet because like it or not, the provincial government made a final decision about building it. As soon as the province had to cut back a subway project for mostly wealthy people in York Region, the debate about the Scarborough extension and it’s more modestly salaried users, starts again. The whole Yonge Street North subway extension project has to be opened after the Ontario Line (formerly the downtown relief line) because the Yonge Street Subway is at capacity, new signaling technology or not.

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