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Tory says SmartTrack plan would boost Liberty Village business

It’s one of the hippest young neighbourhoods in Toronto, but despite people flocking to live in Liberty Village, mayoral candidate John Tory says business in the burgeoning community is suffering because of a lack of transit options.

Tory was in Liberty Village on Tuesday touting his SmartTrack transit plan, which would see existing GO tracks electrified to add 22 new surface subway stops, including one in Liberty Village. (See his full plan here)

Tory, who polls suggest is in a three-way dogfight with Olivia Chow and Rob Ford for the city’s top job, says he’s spoken to numerous business owners in Liberty Village about their difficulties recruiting employees.

“In order to get here, there are people who are taking a GO Train from Brampton into Union Station, and then getting on a train to come back out to Exhibition Stadium to get into work, if you think that makes any sense,” he said.

“It’s just not satisfactory.”

“SmartTrack (would provide) 15 minute trains all day every day, two-way, and it will have a stop right here in Liberty Village.”

Tory’s 53-kilometre SmartTrack regional rail project would connect Pearson airport to Union Station and then up to Scarborough and Unionville.

He said the plan is to build the line on 95 per cent existing tracks within seven years.

The cost of the line would be $8-billion split three ways among the city, the province and federal government.

Tory says he wouldn’t leave Liberty Village businesses and workers hung out to dry during the seven years it would take his plan to come to life.

He says he would push to have express buses serve the area in the meantime.

The TTC board approved a study last March to look into the use of express buses, after a motion calling for their use by Coun. Josh Colle.

Tory said he would wait until that study is complete before committing to specifics on the plan.

With files from CityNews Staff