If Doug Ford is elected, will he actually be able to build all those subways?
If Doug Ford’s transit plan has one thing going for it, it’s simplicity. He wants to do one thing, and one thing only: build subways. In the first phase of his Toronto Subway Expansion Plan, a scheme originally advanced by his brother, he proposes not only following through with the Scarborough subway, but also building a Sheppard extension connecting Don Mills to McCowan, a downtown relief line from Queen to Pape, and a Finch West line, to Humber College. He also wants to bury the rest of the Eglinton Crosstown (or however you spell it). Then, in the second phase of the plan, he says he’ll extend the Sheppard line west to Downsview, lengthen the relief line on both ends, burrow the Eglinton line farther west of Mount Dennis and connect Kipling to Humber College with a north-south line. Altogether, the plan would create 32 new kilometres of subway. Ford claims the price tag for the first phase would be $9 billion—an amount he says he’ll raise using a series of measures that would include reallocating existing LRT funding (and, in the process, cancelling approved LRT lines), forging public-private partnerships, instituting development charges, using tax increment financing and selling air rights above stations.
IF FORD IS ELECTED, WILL IT HAPPEN?
As a map, Ford’s plan is far superior to any other transit platform. “From a point of view of coverage, he’s got a big network that covers the whole city,” says transit advocate and writer Steve Munro. “The problem is there’s no way we can afford to build the damn thing.”
As Munro details in an article on Torontoist, Ford appears to have unintentionally skewed his funding predictions by counting the reallocated LRT money twice over. And Munro, along with other critics, maintains that the other revenue tools on Ford’s “laundry list” simply won’t work: “These have already been studied, and it has been shown that they won’t raise money,” he says. (For example, see our evaluation of Ford’s plan to use Build Toronto revenues.) Plus, experts generally agree that the first phase would cost far more than Ford’s projected $9 billion, and that it would require a lot more work than Ford’s literature lets on.
It’s not likely things will ever get that far, though. “If he’s elected, council is going to be counting votes to see how quickly they can strip him of all his powers,” Munro says. Because of Ford’s reputation as a bully, Munro adds, “I cannot imagine him making the kinds of compromises with council that will be necessary to get anything remotely like his plan approved.”
Eric Miller, a transit expert and University of Toronto engineering professor, thinks Ford may make some progress with the downtown relief life. “That would be the one thing where there would be some tangency between his program and what council might be interested in,” Miller says. But the tunnelling spree would likely go no further.
“It’s the same old plan. These are policies that have been defeated once [under Rob Ford], and I can’t imagine the new council is going to be any more supportive of them because, frankly, they’re not good ideas,” Miller says. “I’m very skeptical that almost anything Ford is talking about would happen. His is a plan for inaction.”
How do other 2014 mayoral candidates’ ideas measure up? Click here to find out.
8 thoughts on “If Doug Ford is elected, will he actually be able to build all those subways?”
I heard something about how the taxpayers want subways and that LRT (a.k.a. streetcars) will destroy the city, but I can’t remember who said it. He also said “folks” a lot. Does anyone know who that was?
Smoking bans and cigarette taxation was a Federal effort that was implemented at great expense at the local level. The federal Government expends 2.4 Billion dollars annually to treat what is refered to as smoking related diseases regardless of their actual cause and collects 12 billion in taxation. Toronto’s share of that balance is 3.5 billion dollars which would build subways here. All it would take is a little honesty to be demanded of the Feds. If you can tax what is referred to as an addiction [a medical condition?] should the same government be allowed to take credit, when they brag about balanced budgets. By swindles and fraud. This is money taken from locals it should at least serve the people it represents.
The people of Scarborough (and the councillors of Scarborough) will not accept getting off of a subway on Sheppard and then having to get on an above ground LRT in the winter. When you get on a subway you want to stay on the subway. It doesn’t matter what so-called experts think. You build the right thing and then figure out how to fund it. You do not build the wrong thing because it fits into your budget. You figure out how to deliver to the people what the people want.
» When you get on a subway you want to stay on the subway
Tell that to the 80% of commuters across Toronto who take the bus every day as part of their commute. How entitled for Scarborough to shriek “but, but … cooold!” and expect everyone to pay billions more, just so dainty little Scarborough commuters don’t experience the reality of living in a Canadian climate.
You’ve finally convinced me: the most important factor when selecting transit is whether riders have to wait outside. Nothing else matters. Cost? Pssh. Ridership? Hah. Density? Don’t make me laugh.
I will agree that waiting outside for transit nullifies everything else — as long as it’s applied fairly. Since cold affects all parts of the city, I will gladly support a subway, running half-empty in Scarborough, as long as we bury all other transit across Toronto. All subway stations across the city that are currently above-ground. All streetcar lines. And every single bus stop.
‘Cause hey, someone waiting in the cold nullifies everything else. You are so right.
The people of Scarborough (and the councillors of Scarborough) will not accept getting off of a subway on Sheppard and then having to get on an above ground LRT in the winter.
That’s what happens when the uninformed comment on transit.
Out of 5 transfer options, the TTC decided to build a same-platform, underground subway/LRT transfer — the subway platform will be extended east and commuters will simply walk past the end of the subway train and onto the waiting LRT. It took me all of 30 seconds to Google the facts.
Could I also have a tunnel to my home from the underground bus stop please? Even that walk can be quite frosty.
AKA “I know more about cancer than my oncologist, so I’m totally disregarding her expert advice.”
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