Doug Ford to unveil details of $28.5B transit plan, but Tory won’t be there
The Conservatives have said its priority project will be a projected $7.2-billion downtown relief line to ease congestion on the current system
TORONTO – Ontario Premier Doug Ford will visit a rail yard in suburban Toronto this morning to lay out the details of his government’s plan to build transit in the Greater Toronto Area.
Ford and Transport Minister Jeff Yurek will outline the $28.5-billion plan at Willowbrook Yard in southern Etobicoke this morning.
The premier highlighted the upcoming announcement during an event in Burlington on Tuesday, but gave no further details about the timeline for delivery of the projects.
He promised that the investments will help Ontarians get from “Point A to Point B,” whether they’re using transit or driving.
Ford added that the government has some “fabulous ideas” for the Queen Elizabeth Way and the Gardiner Expressway, which together run from Toronto’s east end to the Peace Bridge that links Buffalo to Fort Erie, Ont.
Toronto Mayor John Tory has said he will not be attending the announcement because he doesn’t know what the province plans to unveil.
“I just don’t think it’s prudent for me as the head of the council and the mayor of Toronto to go to announcements where I’m not fully informed and stand there because my appearance there can lead to the impression that I support the announcement,” he said Tuesday.
The Progressive Conservative government has said its priority project in the city will be the development of a downtown relief line to ease congestion on city’s current subway system – a project estimated by city staff to cost $7.2 billion.
Ford has promised to upload responsibility for Toronto’s subway system, including all future projects, to the province. The Toronto Transit Commission would retain the day-to-day operations of the subway, buses, and street cars, and the city would keep fare box revenue.
The premier has said the TTC has done well in operating the system but he believes the province can build subways more efficiently. The province could use its broader regional transit planning powers and fiscal flexibility to deliver the projects, he has said.
The province and city are negotiating the terms of the upload, a process that is still ongoing despite of the impending announcement from the province, Yurek said Tuesday.
“We’re both headed in the right direction,” he said. “We both agree gridlock isn’t helping the city of Toronto and the GTA. We both agree we need to expand the subway (system). We’re on the same page.
Tory said the city continues to be concerned that any changes in its transit planning could lead to delays.
“What we have heard so far publicly about the province’s plans for transit has raised concerns about delays, concerns about sunk costs, concerns about the loss of the ability to control what gets built on transit sites and about our ability to encourage the building of more affordable housing around those sites,” he said.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said the province’s transit plans are “highly irresponsible” and will set the city back by creating further delays.
“We see a government in office at Queen’s Park that thinks it’s OK to throw out hundreds of millions of dollars worth of transit planning – to throw a bomb, quite frankly, into transit systems, making sure that we’re not going to see any transit built in the next couple of years because everything is back to the drawing board,” she said.