Rob Ford asks Dalton McGuinty to pitch in for the “privately funded” Sheppard subway

Rob Ford asks Dalton McGuinty to pitch in for the “privately funded” Sheppard subway

Rob Ford met with Dalton McGuinty this morning at Queen’s Park, and the mayor followed the usual script regarding the city’s wish list—except for one important exception. With Ford’s transit plan appearing to crack, he appealed to the premier to kick in a significant chuck of change to help finance the political quagmire that is the Sheppard subway extension.

According to the Globe and Mail:

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is asking the Ontario government to immediately provide the city with funding of $650-million to help kick-start the expansion of the Sheppard subway.

In a meeting with Premier Dalton McGuinty on Wednesday morning at the provincial Legislature, Mr. Ford stressed that $330-million in federal funding could be in jeopardy if the province does not advance the funds.

Basically, the mayor is asking for an injection of provincial dollars to ensure that the city can still collect the federal cash currently sitting on the table. Throughout the election campaign and until quite recently, Ford insisted that the Sheppard extension could be built without a single taxpayer dollar—but apparently what he meant was that the project would need millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars just to get the ball rolling. Go figure.

And just in case Queen’s Park wasn’t quite ready to laugh him out of the room (the province has repeatedly stated that there will be no money for transit until the Eglinton light-rail line is completed), Ford then told reporters, “Hopefully the next premier will put Toronto as a priority.” It sounds an awful lot like Ford doesn’t expect to be sitting across the table from the current premier after election day, and he might be right. But it’s not exactly a great example of bridge building. Then again, the mayor likes tunnels, not bridges.

Cash-strapped Ford off to Queen’s Park [Toronto Star]
Mayor Ford asks Ontario for $650-million for subway expansion [Globe and Mail]
Ford to discuss subway expansion with McGuinty [Globe and Mail]
Ford and McGuinty to meet [CBC]

(Images: Rob Ford—Shaun Merritt; Dalton McGuinty—Jennifer K. Warren; Sheppard subway station—Kenny Louie)