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Ontario transportation minister asks city for complete transit plan

The province’s transportation minister is urging Toronto council, the mayor and TTC to leave politics at the door to come up with consensus on a complete transit expansion plan.

After 10 hours of debate, city council members voted 25 to 18 Thursday night in favour of an above-ground light-rail transit plan.

Transportation minister Bob Charelli said the decision will stand, even without the backing of the mayor.

“I’m confident that that mayor will pause to reflect on what council decided yesterday, so that we will be able to move forward together to build the transit solutions Toronto needs.”

He said it is not for the province to judge what those needs are.

“Leave politics at the door,” Transportation minister Bob Charelli said. “People in Toronto want results. It should be the transit rider should be first.”

Council will decide on what to do with the Sheppard line next month. Until then, Chiarelli said the transit plan is still a work in progress.

Meantime, Councillor Doug Ford is calling for a referendum on last night’s decision, but Chiarelli warns that would involve significant delays.

TTC chair Karen Stintz convinced council to put the brakes on Mayor Rob Ford’s $8.4-billion subway vision.

Stintz called it a common sense compromise that will give more people access to public transit sooner rather than later.

Ford is dismissing the vote, saying the province will have the final say on what gets built.

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