Subway, not old LRT plan, only option for Scarborough3/20/17 9:58 AM
The following is a column by TTC Chair Josh Colle, which originally appeared in Toronto Star (print and online March 20, 2017).
By Josh Colle, TTC Chair
There is no doubt that the debate over the future of transit in Scarborough has been divisive.
A debate over transit technology, preferred alignments and city planning priorities has too often been more focused on personal attacks and politics.
The unfortunate tenor of this debate most recently has called into question the credibility of transit experts at the TTC and even the integrity of our CEO, Andy Byford.
These personal attacks on Byford for merely providing his best professional advice on this project are unfair and completely baseless. I have the utmost respect for Byford and his staff as they work tirelessly to improve transit for Torontonians.
It will be under Byford’s leadership, as directed by several city councils and mayors, that the TTC will open a new subway line this year to York Region and continues to diligently advance work to extend the Bloor-Danforth subway line east to the Scarborough Town Centre.
Millions of dollars and countless council decisions later, work to extend the subway east continues.
And Byford is criticized for telling council the truth that the Scarborough LRT isn’t a feasible plan anymore.
Let’s be clear, there is no plan to build an LRT to replace the Scarborough RT.
It is complete fiction to suggest the Scarborough LRT is still an option on the table for discussion.
Council rejected the LRT option in 2013 and, in countless votes, endorsed the Scarborough subway. Since 2013, there has not been an LRT option presented at council for debate.
Some have tried to claim that the cost of an LRT has not risen over time and still quote a $1.8-billion estimate that is now seven years old, which is extremely misleading.
Metrolinx has also made it clear the LRT plan has not been advanced for four years and the province has repeatedly committed to funding the subway, as has the federal government.
The truth, which some critics don’t want to hear, is that the city is moving ahead with a plan to build an express subway and an Eglinton East LRT. Around $44 million and several years of work by staff have already been spent to advance the plan for a subway to the Scarborough Town Centre.
The suggestion that the Ontario government would simply take the $1.48 billion dedicated for the subway and move it back to building the LRT is simply not true. MPPs in Scarborough and Premier Kathleen Wynne have all been fully committed to delivering this subway, not an LRT. The notion that the $1.57 billion pledged by the City of Toronto and the federal government would be put toward the LRT is equally naive. Both the city and our federal partners have continued to pledge that money for a subway in Scarborough.
Beyond the subway and the 17-stop Eglinton East LRT, SmartTrack/RER will provide six transit stops in Scarborough. We are moving ahead with this 24-stop transit plan because it can serve residents and provide the right transit where it makes sense across the east end of the city.
We can all agree the old Scarborough RT needs to urgently be replaced and that the Scarborough Town Centre, the hub of our city’s east end, needs to be connected by rapid transit.
If you truly believe in better transit for Scarborough, the plan to extend the subway, SmartTrack and the Eglinton East LRT is the only one on the table.
I believe there is no debate about that or Byford’s professionalism.
Advancing to the next level.
Appointment of new Talent Management Director.
Safety Notice #6: New Coronavirus Outbreak.
Arsenault, Beirne, Busuttil, Campbell, Chapman, Cull, Davis, DeVito, Eng, Ferrara, Gasper, Gray, Hardy, Hendry, Hyshka, Keeping, Mancini, Pasquarelli, Purushotham, Ravindhraraj, Scott, Timmerman, VanRaalte, Virdo, Williams, Young.
The Coupler wants to keep you connected
The Coupler invites all employees and pensioners to sign up for TTC news and headlines via our mailbox at firstname.lastname@example.org. Simply send us an e-mail request from your personal e-mail address and include your full name, badge number or pensioner number and work location or home address. Note: personal information is for verification purposes only. Please call Senior Communications Advisor/Editor Mike DeToma at 416-393-3793, or e-mail email@example.com, for more information.
From the Archives
- TTC Rockets reach cricket finals, 08/07/2019
- Message from the Chief Executive of the TTC Pension Fund Society, 12/06/2019
- Line 2 East Extension update, 13/02/2019
- TTC cricket celebrates another exciting season, 28/08/2018
- Message from the TTC Pension Fund Society CEO, 05/06/2018
- Why the TTC deserves its award, 05/07/2017
- Message from the TTC Pension Fund Society CEO, 15/06/2017
- Subway, not old LRT plan, only option for Scarborough, 20/03/2017
- Could you be at risk for colon cancer?, 14/03/2017
- Our budget strategy to improve the TTC, 13/02/2017