Councillor Josh Matlow

Toronto Star: Scarborough residents prefer LRT to subway: Poll

February 3rd 2014

Tess Kalinowski

Toronto Star


A Leger Research poll found that 61 per cent of respondents preferred an LRT, compared with 39 per cent who supported an extension to the Bloor-Danforth subway.


The politicians say Scarborough hearts are set on a subway. But the latest online survey suggests that — given the facts — voters across Toronto, including those in the east end, would prefer an LRT.


Leger Research found 61 per cent of respondents preferred an LRT, compared with 39 per cent who supported an extension to the Bloor-Danforth subway.


Even in Scarborough, the majority of decided respondents — 56 per cent — backed the LRT, compared to 44 per cent who wanted a subway.


The survey found 18 per cent were undecided.




Residents have had years to learn about the two transit options that have been floated to replace the aging Scarborough RT, said Leger’s Dave Scholz.


“But it’s very confusing when you just listen to city councillors talk about this topic. If you get past all of that rhetoric and you get down to how much is it going to cost, who’s going to pay for it and who’s going to be serviced by it, then people have a very realistic view of what they want,” he said.


City council has approved a three-stop subway to replace the SRT at a cost of about $2.5 billion to $3 billion. But it had originally agreed to a seven-stop LRT for $1.48 billion, fully funded by the province.


Toronto taxpayers will be on the hook for about $1 billion for the subway — the funding not provided by senior governments.


“This poll says to me that, despite the relentless campaign of misinformation and lies that Scarborough residents have received about rapid transit, the majority of them know the truth and want the service that will provide rapid transit to more residents for less money now,” said Councillor Josh Matlow (Ward 22, St. Paul’s).


He argued last week that the $12.2 million the city plans to collect in subway funds this year should be put in a reserve fund until after the next election.


The lowest LRT support was in North York where respondents were evenly split on the two transit modes, said Sholz. Downtown and East York residents were most supportive of the LRT and Etobicoke respondents were 59 per cent in favour of the LRT.


Leger surveyed 523 Toronto residents on Friday and Saturday from its online panel. Although the data have been weighted according to Statistics Canada data for age and gender, the company does not provide a statistical margin of error for the data.


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