February 5, 2015
TORONTO – The controversial Scarborough subway project will be back on the docket at city council next week, with one of the project’s opponents demanding answers to key questions about ridership and financial viability.
Councillor Josh Matlow, who represents Ward 22 (St. Paul’s), has asked for clarification on a number of aspects of the planned project from city staff in a series of five so-called “administrative inquiries.”
He said he hopes that those questions will help provide councillors with key pieces of information on the three-stop subway project.
“Let’s get real,” Matlow said. “Let’s have this conversation based on facts and then take action based on facts. So my intent is not to re-open this debate. My intent is to get transit to as many Scarborough residents as possible at the quickest possible date.”
Matlow wants the city to provide details on ridership estimates for the subway, details on ongoing maintenance costs, and questions about the study area of the project and how it impacts Mayor John Tory’s SmartTrack proposal.
Council’s narrow support of the subway plan in 2013, when it effectively ripped up a plan to build a seven-stop light-rail project with the province, wasn’t based on the best available information, Matlow said. He’d like to change that with this request at council.
“Basic ridership numbers, just basic things any responsible person would want to know are still not out there for councillors and the public to see,” he said. “We just have preliminary numbers and assumptions. I want to get the facts.”
Matlow said he’s hopeful Tory can be persuaded to change his mind on his election promise to continue on with the Scarborough subway’s development.
“Mayor Tory has been told certain things,” Matlow said. “My hope is, because unlike Rob Ford, John Tory, I believe is a well-meaning person who appreciates facts, that he will be convinced over time that facts support an LRT on this specific route.”
Meanwhile, council will also be asked to re-affirm its support for the Scarborough subway project in a motion presented by Ward 7 (York West) Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti. That motion also asks for a re-examination of the Finch LRT project, which was part of the original deal with the province to built light rail to Scarborough.
Council meets next Tuesday and Wednesday.
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