Eglinton LRT key at budget meeting

Link to the airport seen as an important step toward Toronto being a world-class city

Councillors got an earful from residents at a Etobicoke-York public budget consultation on the need for an Eglinton LRT.

At the Jan. 20 meeting Eglinton Hill BIA chair Steve Tasses took to the podium to make his case for a direct transit line to Pearson Airport along Eglinton.

“I know that we like to say that Toronto is a world-class city, but any world-class city has a subway going to the airport,” said Tasses. “Eglinton is the most logical choice. Eglinton is the only street that connects all six former municipalities. Eglinton goes straight to the airport.”

While it was generally agreed upon that Eglinton would make for a good route directly to Pearson Airport, the format of the meeting — councillors not being able to make statements, but only asking questions of the speakers — caused a few bumps in the road.

Councillor Josh Colle was the first to find a way around it.

“Would you not agree that we can not afford to wait again?” Colle asked in regards to the previously quashed Eglinton subway line of the mid-1990s. “We have to build transit on Eglinton now.”

Tasses responded by telling Colle it was “a very good question.”

“Whether it’s an (Eglinton) LRT, whether it’s a subway, or whether it’s a horse and carriage. We need something going directly to the airport to ease the congestion and also build up the economy along the Eglinton West communities,” Tasses said.

Councillor Gord Perks, who also had to use some clever questioning of his own, started out bluntly.

“There is no money for Transit City, there is no money for a subway,” he said. “In fact, according to the TTC, we don’t even have the money starting in spring of next year to continue to pay to fix the equipment we currently have for the TTC in this budget that’s in front of us right now.

“Does that disappoint you?”

Without missing a beat, Tasses and his unrelenting attitude fired back.

“I’ve been disappointed in the past, I’ve been married for 20 years,” he joked, getting a roar of laughter from the audience. “(But) I was very encouraged to see that they were testing the ground a couple of months ago around the Keele and Eglinton corridor.

“Having the construction start in the spring of 2011 would also be very encouraging,” he added.

About this article:

By: Shawn Star
Posted: Jan 25 2011 12:12 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto