No-nonsense addition to the TTC brain trust hates ideas from the left and right equally

No-nonsense addition to the TTC brain trust hates ideas from the left and right equally

With Rob Ford’s plan to expand the TTC’s subway system along the Sheppard line and replace the Scarborough RT with an extension to the Danforth subway, the TTC is headhunting for new talent. One of the first hands they’ve found is David Gunn, who used to work for the TTC in the 1990s. There’s just one problem with bringing Gunn on as a consultant for the expansion: he’s opposed to TTC expansion.

From the Globe and Mail:

“I think they’re wedded to this Sheppard subway public-private partnership idea,” said Mr. Gunn, who talked with Mr. Ford in January. “I’ll tell them it’s a dumb idea, but they won’t want to hear that.”

After being called upon by TTC chief general manager Gary Webster, Mr. Gunn had been expecting to travel from his Nova Scotia home later this month so he could pore over TTC finances and advise managers on how to deal with an imminent 2012 budget crunch.

“I love Toronto, I was looking forward to it, but I have a feeling it won’t come to pass now,” the no-nonsense former TTC head said in an interview Monday. “If city hall starts making noises that they don’t want it [me to make the trip], which is what I think is happening, well…”

The fascinating thing about Gunn is that he’s not just opposed to Ford’s ideas; he has harsh words for the Miller-era TTC leadership as well, saying “they seemed to think running the TTC in a businesslike way was immoral. Well they created a situation where they’ve damn near killed it. Now you’ve got a system that is not sustainable.”

The question we’re left with is this: who on council or at the TTC is possibly going to go to bat for Gunn when and if he makes any actual proposals or recommendations? He’s basically opposed to both of the major points of view on council, and for the moment he seems totally out of sync with the mayor. In terms of scoring the trifecta, all Gunn has left is to say that fares should go up, and this city will run him out on a rail.

• Transit guru David Gunn says his views likely to kibosh TTC invitation [Globe and Mail]