Watch video above: Tim Hudak lays out his plan to enhance GO Transit in the GTHA.
TORONTO – If elected, Tim Hudak would cancel planned light rail transit projects in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton and Hamilton.
Hudak made the admission during a press conference Friday morning with GO trains arriving at Union Station in the background. He was touting his plan to expand GO Transit service but admitted in order to pay for those plans, he’d have to cancel some already planned projects.
“Finch, Sheppard, Mississauga, Brampton, Hamilton” light rail plans would be cancelled, he said.
“If I have a choice between taking up more lanes or actually improving our highways and building underground, I’ll take improving our highways and building underground with subways any day,” he said. “That will make your commute faster. Ripping up lanes to put in rail down street lines, that’s actually going to slow you down.”
Hudak has made expanding GO Transit service a plank in his election campaign. He’s promised expanded service in rush hour, more express trains, increased all-day, two-way service and better customer service.
He’s also promised to divert some of the money saved from scrapping planned LRT projects into highway maintenance.
Mayor Rob Ford has placed a target on the Sheppard LRT as well. After he successfully secured funding for the extension of the Bloor-Danforth line into Scarborough, the mayor vowed to scrap LRT plans in favour of a subway along Sheppard Avenue.
But it’s not Hudak’s first priority. Instead, he’s promised to expedite the construction of a relief line in Toronto, followed by building transit outside of the city.
Read More: Are parties’ transit promises off the rails?
Hudak’s vision of transit is at odds with Premier Kathleen Wynne who has focused on funding The Big Move – a plan that focuses on expanding transit in the GTA with a variety of methods including LRTs – with a series of so-called revenue tools including a hike in the taxes of Ontarians making more than $150,000.
NDP leader Andrea Horwath has thus far in the campaign been quiet on transit expansion, other than to suggest she would increase the corporate tax rate to help fund construction. She’s also suggested the Liberals are planning to privatize public transit – a claim Wynne has refuted.