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Toronto councillors want more answers from province on transit plan

Last Updated Apr 17, 2019 at 1:59 pm EDT

The Ford government unveiled its vision for transit in the GTA on April 10, 2019. HANDOUT

Toronto city councillors agreed Wednesday to “consider endorsing” the province’s transit plan, but want more answers before moving over federal money to Queen’s Park.

The city has earmarked $660 million in federal funding for the three-stop Scarborough subway and $3.15 billion for the downtown relief line, now called the Ontario Line — subject to an assessment.

“What we’re saying now is we would continue to allocate $3.2 billion to what is called the Ontario Line, if the assessment proves to be satisfactory in terms of what that relief line is,” Mayor John Tory said.

However, many questions remain unanswered, with city and TTC staff releasing a report midway through a council meeting on Tuesday that detailed the numerous things they still don’t know about the province’s transit plan.

The report puts forth 61 questions that include such basic queries as who does cost estimates and how the public will have its say.

Coun. Joe Cressy said the city wants the province to respond to the questions before further decisions are made.

“Those 61 questions are the basis of transportation planning. So what we have in front of us is a map. We don’t have a transit plan,” Cressy said.

Read the entire list of 61 questions below:

61 Questions Only by CityNewsToronto on Scribd

Council ran out of time to vote on the report in Tuesday’s session and picked up where they left off on Wednesday, voting 25-1 in favour of the staff report’s recommendations, including approving the list of questions to the province.

Other recommendations endorsed by council include that the city and TTC work with the province to:

  • “undertake an assessment of the Province’s proposed changes to Toronto’s transit expansion program described in the 2019 Ontario Budget, and its alignment with the City of Toronto’s and Toronto Transit Commission’s strategic objectives and priorities, including an assessment of cost, schedule, operational and network impacts, and commercial and technical merits of the proposed changes”
  •  “negotiate principles with respect to cost-sharing, roles and responsibilities, governance, and funding for transit network expansion including but not limited to capital, operating, maintenance and lifecycle maintenance of the new expansion lines, funding requirements for the state of good repair of the existing network, and reimbursement for any sunk costs associated with a change in transit expansion plans”
  • “report back to City Council with an update as soon as practical on the proposed upload of subway extensions and new lines under Ontario’s new transit proposal outlined in the 2019 Ontario Budget.”

 

The staff recommendations come on the heels of the provincial budget which outlines a $28.5 billion transit plan that added several stops to the relief line.

Council also voted on Tuesday in favour of making the King Street pilot project permanent.


Related stories:

City council to consider endorsing Ontario Line after city review