Thursday, March 23, 2006

Funds In Transit

Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan has richly rewarded the GTA for its steadfast support of the Liberal Party with a big bucket of cash for public transit, to wit:

--$670 million to extend the Spadina subway line from Downsview through York University and into Vaughan;

--$200 million to upgrade current subway lines and trains;

--$167 million to various 905 municipalities for dedicated bus lines and such;

--$130.4 million of gasoline tax funds for public transit;

--$1 million to study the future of the Scarborough RT line;

--And a shiny new Greater Toronto Transportation Authority so that suburban drivers can underwrite downtown subway riders (like me).

Think of all the construction jobs to be made on the one hand, and the feel-good satisfaction of appearing to to do something good for the environment on the other. A perfect Liberal feel-good vote-buying budget plank if ever there was one!

Extending the subway line out to Vaughan will still take the Spadina line out through a lot of relatively empty space; finishing the Sheppard line still won't happen a long time, if ever; and lines on streets that could actually carry the traffic, like Eglinton Avenue, will never be built.

And one wonders whether the stuff that regularly gets announced with great fanfare only to be forgotten will ever be remembered. Like the Pearson-to-Union Station rail link, or LRT replacing those heavy clunkers of streetcars.

Steve Munro has done some serious thinking about what the Toronto transit system needs. Unfortunately, most of it will be lost in the rush to build the Spadina subway extension to nowhere in particular.

Source: Ontario Ministry of Finance


PGP said...

And yet the GO trains which are capable of reducing the highway traffic load across a much broader area get ZILCH!

I guess those "conservative so&sos" outside the 905 aren't paying taxes or something!

Mark Dowling said...

they don't vote the right way. And the Sorbaras don't have any interests there I suppose.

Lord Kitchener's Own said...

There's a reason that a metro pass costs $63 a month in Montreal and $99.75 a month in Toronto, and it's that the TTC is on of the least subsidized public transit systems in all of North America. Most public transit systems get 50-60% of their operating budget from governments, and the other 40-50% from fares. For the TTC the split is more like 25-75 government-fares. Public transit in Toronto is a mess. You simply can't serve 425 million riders a year on the meager funding the TTC has been getting. Something needed to be done. The TTC is raising fares again on April 1st, but you can't just keep raising fares forever. Not when they're already higher than Montreal, New York, Chicago... I could go on for days.... Somebody had to do something.

James said...

vThis subway extension is to end right across the street from slum properties owned by Liberal MPP Greg Sorbara!

Watch the Sorbara family properties in the area skyrocket in value with the subway extension.