Rob Fordai??i??s subway dream dead

The Toronto Star hates Mayor Ford and everything he wants to do. The Star is Liberal and the mayor is conservative. It has never said anything nice about him. The mayor before him ran on an election promise not to build a bridge to the island airport. No wonder the rest of Canada calls it ai???Hog Townai???.

Under Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, the right is wrong

Ai??http://www.thestar.com/news/article/1150572–under-toronto-mayor-rob-ford-the-right-is-wrong

Why does the right always get it so wrong? Since winning the 2010 Toronto electoral war decisively, Mayor Rob Ford has lost every subsequent battle miserably.

City councilai??i??s crushing rejection of his Sheppard subway pipedream on Thursday was the latest nail in the chief magistrateai??i??s coffin. Little wonder thereai??i??s talk of a ai???leadership vacuumai??? in Toronto. At this point one canai??i??t help but wonder how long the ugly fat bastard can last (sic); not only has he lost control of the transit file, he has been abandoned by council and much of the city.

Even fellow conservatives are breaking ranks with the mayor and his noisome brother, Doug Ford, who never fails to get it wrong.

Who will forget the spectacle of the Fordsai??i?? appointed budget chief, Mike Del Grande, publically extolling the virtues of a parking levy. According to him, imposing a $100 tax on non-residential parking spots would bring in $100 million annually.

Under more normal circumstances, the chances this sort of utterance passing the lips of Del Grande would be about the same as Rob Ford riding a bike to work.

But transit, like politics, makes for strange bedfellows. And this bunch of recent tax-and-spend converts is nothing if not strange.

Played out against a backdrop of this bizarre winter-turned-summer, the two-day debate felt as unreal and worrisome as the weather, but in its own way, it was just as enjoyable. If you could overlook the fact that in both cases the future is the issue, councilai??i??s antics were hugely entertaining, or would have been anywhere but here.

Between the two of them, Doug Ford and Giorgio Mammoliti, both classic examples of incompetents too incompetent to realize their incompetence, the conservatives proved themselves not simply inept, but comically so.

At this point, their arguments have become so transparently silly thereai??i??s no need to debunk them. Whatai??i??s more interesting, however, was the rightai??i??s willingness to sell itself out to get what its leader wants ai??i??subways under Sheppard, not light rail transit on Sheppard.

With Del Grande doing the heavy drifting, conservatives ditched the dogma by which they live and die ai??i?? less tax, less government, less deficit ai??i?? to embrace the sort of cash grab that until now they hated.

Still, itai??i??s heartening to watch as councilai??i??s most lead-footed dinosaurs come to a more nuanced understanding of the role taxes play. Ironic, though, that the light should go on as the conservatives struggle to implement a scheme against which the big criticism is expense.

In its rush to take transit off Torontoai??i??s streets, which naturally belong to car and driver, the right wing has discredited itself, and worse still, made itself look foolish. From zealots to zombies to zeroes.

The most glaring deficit in Toronto these days isnai??i??t economic; itai??i??s the absence of leadership at City Hall. The mayor has yet to figure out what his job is let alone how to go about doing it. Though Ford has yet to grasp it, politics begins where slogans end. At this point, his failureai??i??s all but complete. His credibility is in tatters; his policies have been picked apart and discarded.

So what was left for Ford but to launch his permanent re-election campaign? ai???Obviously the campaign starts now,ai??? he declared after his defeat, ai???and Iai??i??m willing to take anyone on, streetcars against subways in the next election. I canai??i??t wait for that.ai???

Alas, he will have to. The vote wonai??i??t be held until 2014, by which time the LRT should be well under way.

For the price of *one* subway you can get *seventeen* tramlines. And a rather different city.

Council vote on Sheppard LRT

Here is a geographical look at how city councillors voted on Glenn De Baeremaeker’s motion confirming that Light Rail Transit (LRT) is the preferred rapid transit mode for Sheppard Ave. E. March 22, 2012.
Green is a ‘Yes’ vote supporting the motion. Red is no. Two councillors were absent (Yellow).
Mayor Rob Ford voted No. The motion was carried 24-19. Click here for motion detail.
You can zoom into or turn off individual wards or council groups with the folders and check boxes, below left.

 

http://www.thestar.com/news/transportation/article/1150280–will-toronto-s-transit-fight-be-won-today

With Rob Fordai??i??s Sheppard subway dream officially crushed, the increasingly isolated mayor is vowing to carry the fight for underground transit into the next election ai??i?? immediately.

Fordai??i??s leadership has come under increasing scrutiny, even from his council allies in the run-up to Thursdayai??i??s 24-19 council vote approving light rail rather than a subway extension for Sheppard Ave. E.

In the wake of the most recent defeat on his transit agenda, Ford immediately told reporters he will urge Premier Dalton McGuinty not to fund ai???streetcars.ai???

VIDEO: Ford urges province not to fund LRT

ai???Iai??i??m not going to support the LRTs, Iai??i??ll tell you that right now. Iai??i??m going to do everything in my power to try to stop it,ai??? he said.

ai???This is an election issue. Obviously the campaign starts now. Iai??i??m willing to take anyone to fight streetcars against subways in the next election, and I canai??i??t wait for that.ai???

But TTC chair Karen Stintz, who led the support for LRT, said itai??i??s time to get on with spending the $8.4 billion Queenai??i??s Park has pledged to Toronto transit expansion ai??i?? including about $6.5 billion for the Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown LRT. The remaining money would be split between the LRT on Finch Ave. W. and Sheppard East.

ai???Weai??i??ve come to a solution about how to bring transit to the suburbs,ai??? she said. ai???We do need to send a message to the province that the majority of council supports the plan ai??i?? in fact a majority of Scarborough councillors whose wards will be impacted by the LRT.ai???

At the end of the tense, two-day council meeting, city staff were also directed city staff to report back by the fall on a long-term funding strategy for transit expansion. Councillors also voted to continue pressing senior governments for funding.

Click here to see how each councillor voted

But a motion to implement a $100 million non-residential parking tax, introduced Wednesday by budget chief Michael Del Grande, was not approved.

The last-minute attempt to win subway support, dismissed as ai???desperateai??? by some councillors, wasnai??i??t enough to persuade a majority that the mayor had a viable subway plan and Ford did not speak up to support Del Grandeai??i??s motion.

But many councillors, including Stintz, said it was the beginning of an important conversation about the need to find new funding sources to build transit.

Meantime, ai???We felt it was only responsible to go with the funding plan we have to make sure that we deliver transit to the city,ai??? said Stintz, who was labeled a ai???backstabberai??? and criticized for her ai???lack of leadershipai??? by Councillor Doug Ford, the mayorai??i??s brother.

VIDEO: Doug Ford lashes out at Karen Stintz

But even some of the mayorai??i??s disappointed key supporters said they will respect councilai??i??s decision.

ai???I have fought the fight within my area of jurisdiction. Council has pronounced itself on that. It now goes to the MPPs to decide. All my arguments are out on the table, everything that I could bring to the debate I have already done,ai??? said disappointed Councillor Norm Kelly (Scarborough-Agincourt).

Councillor Paul Ainslie (Scarborough East) said he wonai??i??t argue to undo councilai??i??s decision but would continue to talk up the need for subways.

ai???Iai??i??m going to continue to advocate for subways but also for a regional transportation system,ai??? he said.

While Kelly referred to LRT ai???second-class transit,ai??? other Scarborough councillors said their constituents have come out winners.

ai???We voted overwhelmingly today to invest $4 billion in Scarborough. Weai??i??ve got the biggest transit investment ever in the history of Scarborough. This is spectacular news,ai??? said Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker (Scarborough Centre).

Ford said residents in Scarborough would prefer no new transit rather than streetcars in the middle of their streets.

Earlier Thursday, the mayor launched into a furious attack on streetcars.

You just couldn’t make it up!!

Comments

One Response to “Rob Fordai??i??s subway dream dead”
  1. Karthi says:

    Darwin and other no-transfers-no-matter-what-the-cost supporters,In raetily, nobody living East of Kennedy will be traveling across Sheppard if their destination is downtown. Other more efficient routes will be available such as Agincourt GO, Oshawa GO, the successor of the RT that hopefully will get at least to Markham Road and the future Malvern LRT that will cost just as much as converting one rapid transit route (Sheppard Subway) to another rapid transit mode. If what was originally planned is implemented (that includes all day Lakeshore East GO and Stoufville GO) most people in that neglected part of the city will be within ten minutes from rapid transit by either bus, walking or biking and will be able to get downtown under an hour. Transfer at Don Mills will be used either for folks going from Scarborough to North York or those who live right on Sheppard East and are going downtown. Inconvenience? Yes. Worth a megaproject to get it fixed? I don’t think so. I am skeptical that rapid transit on Sheppard will be able to redirect a large number of commuters that are currently taking the Finch bus due to congestion on the North South routes in Scarborough. Even if this is a subway. Dufferin bus is packed despite the fact that Spadina subway is so close. And if you live south of Sheppard you won’t travel north if your direction is south.The objective of Transit City is bringing rapid transit to as many communities as possible. Unfortunately, even in the best case scenario we will only have four truncated lines built by the end of the decade. Extra funding from the province is very unlikely with current deficit projections and nobody seriously believes in mysterious private sector subways that pay for themselves anymore. The city will need to raise funds itself. The point that we have no money is moot we are one of the wealthiest nations on earth. We need to raise more money and expedite the implementation of the Big Move. While gas tax, city sales tax, vehicle registration fees and parking charges are worth debating, congestion pricing on the DVP and Gardiner could be the bitter pill we desperately need to close that funding gap.

Leave A Comment