Transit issue at city hall is business as un-usual

A Town Crier Community Column

Would you like a free metropass? How about a free metropass for 900 of your friends for 50 years? That’s what $65 million would buy. That’s a lot of money.

The mayor’s proposed transit plan would spend $65 million to do nothing because that’s what it will cost to cancel the contracts already signed for Transit City.

I don’t like to waste money.

Transit City was funded; the environmental reviews and consultations done. It put rapid transit underground where it needed to be — on major stretches of Eglinton and parts of Sheppard. Cancelling Transit City caused delays and cost money.

Toronto needs more rapid transit now. The Toronto Board of Trade — which represents 10,000 business people — proposed a three percent property tax hike not the 2.5 percent council approved so we’d have more money to build transit today. Everyone who has waited for a bus, streetcar or subway only to find that it is too full when it arrives knows this city needs more rapid transit now.

The best way to do this is to get the TTC and Metrolinx working on a slightly modified version of Transit City.

Why Light Rail Transit (or LRT) as opposed to subways?

For the same amount of money, LRT moves at least twice as many people. LRT will get twice as many cars off the road as a subway and is better suited for the less dense parts of this city. LRT is very popular in Europe. There are 52 North American cities using or planning LRT systems. Yes, let’s build subways, but only when and where that is the sensible, affordable solution.

I get very upset at the idea of wasting $65 million of taxpayers’ money to do nothing but I get even more upset at the mayor’s proposal to spend $2 billion more than necessary on the Eglinton LRT. Yes, let’s put the central part of the Eglinton LRT underground, but not all of it.

As a businesswoman, I know you have to invest to make sure you’re successful in the future — all successful businesses do — but we need to invest wisely.

I would like you to share your ideas on how best to invest for the future the $2 billion we’d save by sticking with the original plan for the Eglinton LRT. Please email me at [email][/email] with your suggestions (please include your name & address).

About this article:

By: Mary Fragedakis
Posted: Feb 24 2012 2:07 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto