Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Toronto mayoral candidate has a new transit plan for the city

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Toronto mayoral candidate has a new transit plan for the city GO Transit

John Tory, a candidate for mayor of Toronto, ON, Canada, unveiled his One Toronto Transit Plan that he says will help relieve transit and traffic congestion in Toronto within seven years.

"Today is the beginning of an exciting future for the people of Toronto. My One Toronto plan will bring transit relief sooner and to more Torontonians so they can get out of traffic and home to their families faster," said Tory. "This is about providing relief to all four corners of our great city and moving people around in a smarter and faster way."

The centerpiece of the plan is a new 53-km (32.9-mile) SmartTrack line, which will include 22 station and four interchanges with Toronto Transit Commission's (TTC) rapid transit network. The line would utilize existing GO infrastructure and connect the Airport Corporate Centre (south of Hwy 401) with Union Station. From Union, the line would run up the GO Stouffville line trackage to Unionville.

Tory estimates the cost of the SmartTrack line is CA$8 billion (US$7.3 billion). He plans on using Tax Increment Financing to cover Toronto's third of the price tag and make up the difference using provincial and federal government funds.

The plan also has designs on building a Scarborough subway extension. The proposed route would extend the Bloor-Danforth line along the McCowan Road corridor to Sheppard Avenue East, with stops at McCowan and Lawrence, Scarborough Town
Centre and McCowan and Sheppard.

Toronto Councillor Karen Stintz, who is also running for mayor and is the former chair of TTC, commented, "Mr. Tory's proposal leaves many unanswered questions. The city of Toronto does not have decision-making authority over the GO Transit line. Mr. Tory's plan to use Tax Incremental Financing wouldn't generate the funds he says it would. Furthermore - why would the city use TIF to fund a provincial project?"

Fellow mayoral opponent Oliva Chow accused Tory of reversing his stance on his promises of a Yonge Street relief line, which is not included in his plan, saying "For three months, Tory had one top priority. A subway relief line. Here's what he said today about it: 'it's the wrong line' and 'the cure is worse than the disease.' Going from calling something a top priority to saying it'll do nothing is a flip-flop so big, Godzilla could wear it."