Rather than celebrate Ford’s victory, the Sun took the opportunity to attack Karen Stintz, claiming that Ontario Transportation Minister Glen Murray called her a “roadblock” in the process of getting shit done. She says that it won’t be possible to move forward on any less than $1.8 billion, Murray says $1.4 billion is all that’s coming.
This comes after Ford revived the whole subways debate on a wing and a prayer with none of the funding “guarantees” he’s so fond of. It’s critical to note the $8.2 billion in transit funding under the Transit City project that Ford summarily, and probably illegally, dismissed as his very first act of destruction at City Hall (but only after voting in favour of it first, of course).
If Stintz is a “roadblock” simply for saying that the city will need more funding, what does that make Rob Ford?
Not that it’ll matter much in the long run, because the results of the various votes on the issue leave even more room for the whole thing to fail. Essentially, Council voted to keep any new taxes out of the equation; even Ford’s latest in a series of attempts at raising taxes was rebuffed. They also voted to make the whole thing hang on the $1.8 billion number that Stintz put forward (I guess that makes them all, including the Fords, “roadblocks”).
So those goals are a bit lofty for starters. But then Council voted on having a funding commitment by September 30th, so far with no business case or any real proposals beyond this (which I tiefed from the National Post):
As you can see, the proposed subway has less than half the stops of the LRT plan with a not-so-small distance between stops on the underground route which would be subject to the same problems that the system has thus far experienced and will continue to be a victim to.
It’s not realistic to believe that the sections of the city where subways will be built won’t be shut down for safety reasons, so in terms of inconvenience, they wouldn’t be any better for pedestrians or commuters. And that will be the situation for about 5 years with the LRT, compared to an optimistic 10 years for subways.
Once built, the LRT will be within walking distance of roughly twice as many people as the nearest subway stop. Yes, there are some perks, such as a larger overall passenger capacity of the subway over light rail, but that won’t become an issue for some time; both systems are expected to be running, at peak times, half to less-than-half empty by 2031.
So no, subways are not the best option given what we know (and have known for some time).
Not that it really matters — neither the LRT or subways may ever see the light of day. There was, at one time, a viable and ready-to-go plan called Transit City, but before anyone had a chance to stick a shovel in the ground, Rob Ford summarily cancelled it and started in on this insane death spiral that the TTC is now in.
The numbers aren’t adding up, the only plan thus far has consisted of publicly blubbering rhetoric about partnerships, and now we have these extra conditions that imperil even the tenuous and ephemeral concept of subways. And all this just for Scarborough … no discussions about upgrading or maintaining the rest of the system which by 2031, is believed will require passengers to fight to the death for a seat on severely overcrowded and, thanks to Ford, extra pricey trains.