Editorial Archive

Office of the Chief Executive

Commission seal 3/14/19 6:00 PM

Update on transit alignment discussions

I have committed to keeping you informed about any updates regarding the Provincial discussions around the future of the subway system as part of the overall TTC network. As always, I am sharing what I know at this point and I will share more when we have more info.

In February, I provided you with an update on the Terms of Reference that the TTC, together with the City of Toronto and the Province of Ontario, had agreed to in order to guide a discussion about how best to align transit responsibilities between the two parties.

Today, a Status Report was released by the City of Toronto and includes details of the process described in the joint ToR (Terms of Reference), public consultation process, and required resources to complete the work.

First off, I want to be clear that the ToR is not an agreement about the future of the subway system as part of the TTC network; the ToR provide the framework for how the TTC, City and Province will jointly discuss how to best align transit in Toronto. At the highest level, we are fighting to maintain an integrated system.

The ToR outlines the following objectives for joint review and discussion:
> The accelerated implementation of priority expansion projects;
> The integration of transit services across modes and agencies (e.g. TTC, Metrolinx, other 905 transit agencies);
> The modernization and enhancement of the existing subway system, while ensuring the system is maintained in a state of good repair;
> The continuity of safe, reliable service to all residents whom depend on it for mobility; and
> A long-term sustainable, predictable funding model for the existing transit system and future transit needs.


Today’s report begins by listing a series of recommendations from the City Manager, including allocating $2 million for staffing and support to the engagement process with the Province, while at the same time seeking full cost recovery from the Province for any third-party services, City and TTC staff time, and any other resources required during this engagement process.

Staffing and support

The review process will include evaluating a range of potential models and other policy options in addition to the Province’s proposed model.

I realize this is a monumental task. The City and TTC have established a dedicated team of staff with technical competencies required to support the City’s participation in the joint process with the Province. Technical expertise in intergovernmental relations, corporate finance, transit service planning, transit operations, city planning, real estate, and legal are being assigned to ensure that the TTC’s and the City’s key objectives and interests are protected throughout this process. Many of our own employees have already begun to provide the necessary background information required to make solid, fact-based evaluations.

What options are being evaluated?

The City and TTC have identified three option streams, generally described below, while the final list of options will be jointly developed with the Province:
> Stream 1: Provincial Ownership of the Subway Network: The Province takes ownership of, and responsibility for, the subway network and all subway assets.
> Stream 2: Provincial Ownership Role in Subway Expansion Only: Options where the City/TTC maintain full ownership of the existing subway network.
> Stream 3: Realignment of Transit Responsibilities: Options that would be defined by a broader realignment of transit responsibilities, including governance, funding, transit service integration, and transit expansion planning and project delivery.

Public consultation

A significant stage of this entire process is ensuring the public have their say in what is being proposed. The ToR states “that meaningful public consultation is a required input to effective decision-making.” Public consultation with the public and other key stakeholders will occur throughout the duration of the review using a variety of methods to ensure the widest possible reach and inclusion of Toronto’s diverse communities. These methods will include, but are not limited to, public meetings, tele-town halls, webinars, pop-ups and online engagement (surveys, website, etc).

Going forward

This issue continues to have my full attention. The critical message I want you all to take from this update is this: while these discussions can be front of mind and sometimes distracting, it remains business as usual at the TTC and we need to continue to put out the service we advertise. That means continuing to do the great work each of you do to keep this city moving. While it can tempting to think about long-term implications, we have the needs of our customers today that we need to think about. Thank you for your continued hard work.

Finally, I have been providing – and will continue to do so – my best professional advice to City Council and the TTC Board when it comes to the TTC’s role today and in the future. I am committed to continuing to share these status reports and other updates as discussions with the Province, the TTC and the City progress.

Richard J. Leary
Chief Executive Officer
March 14, 2019

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