Watch video above: Why John Tory’s opponents are criticizing his transit plan. Jackson Proskow reports.
TORONTO – John Tory wants to use existing Metrolinx GO lines to get commuters moving in Toronto.
The mayoral candidate released his “One Toronto Transit Plan” Tuesday which includes an all-day, two-way surface subway service from around Pearson Airport in the west-end of the city to all the way northeast to Unionville, Markham.
The so called “SmartTrack” line, which is estimated to cost $8 billion, will stretch 53 kilometres, include 22 stops and have the rails electrified.
“This is going to done in 7 years,” said Tory Tuesday morning prior to pitching his proposal at the Canadian Club of Toronto.
“This is going to be a substantial relief for travelers on the Yonge line.”
Tory’s transit plan also includes the purchase of new above ground high-speed vehicles.
The cost to build and implement the service will be split between the city, the province and the federal government.
Toronto’s share will be financed by a “Tax Increment Financing” model which uses a portion of the city’s tax revenue from development along the line to pay for construction.
The SmartTrack plan would be operated by Metrolinx with integrated fares from the TTC.
“The GO Transit system already serves a number of different stations around the City of Toronto, both the east, the west, and the north side,” explained Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig who believes the current system can be enhanced.
“We currently provide services that are connecting people within an origin in the city to a destination downtown. So, we do that right now.”
In addition to the proposed “regional relief line,” Tory said his other priority if elected mayor is making sure the Scarborough subway extension goes forward.
Transit blogger Steve Munro insists the idea of a regional rail line through Toronto isn’t new but the added attention is a welcome one.
“This is very much a refocusing of what transit in Toronto should be,” he said. “It shouldn’t be just these green lines that sort of come through the city but don’t actually stop there.”Subway with rail line overlay »