Premier Doug Ford says he’s taking Toronto’s subway so that he can get new transit built. However, nothing is stopping the province from building transit in Toronto right now.
Uploading the existing subway does not affect the Ford government’s ability to construct and own new lines or extensions. In fact, the province is currently building, and will own, the Eglinton Crosstown. Moreover, it was Premier Doug Ford himself who helped kill the approved LRT plan in 2010, a move that cancelled four rapid transit lines which were fully-funded by the previous provincial government – and has caused years of delays to get transit built for people who need it.
Doug Ford’s plan isn’t really about improving transit in Toronto. He should be helping Toronto invest in fact-based transit plans, such as the Relief Subway Line and a light rapid transit network in Scarborough. Instead, his politics-based plan is to sell off our subway lands and air rights while wasting billions of dollars on subways to Pickering, where enhancing existing GO lines would move suburban residents much faster.
With Toronto’s subway, Ford would gain control of lucrative air rights above stations and adjacent properties, owned and paid for by Torontonians.
“The better way” would be for the TTC to utilize these public assets to invest in fact-based transit plans and work with city planners and communities to build much-needed public amenities for Toronto residents, including affordable housing, childcare, and recreation space. And, to have a partner in Queen’s Park that invests in Toronto, rather than one that sells the value of our subway to spend elsewhere.