Mayor says Toronto’s transit priority is subway to Scarborough

A Toronto Transit Commission logo can be seen on a subway car in this March 2010 file photo. Stephen C. Host / File / The Canadian Press

TORONTO – Mayor Rob Ford reiterated his demand for subway service to Scarborough on Friday claiming Torontonians want “truly rapid” public transit.

To help pay for the Ford’s transit priorities, he pointed to the recently released federal budget which detailed plans to invest $53 billion into infrastructure projects over the next 10 years as an extension of the existing $33-billion Building Canada plan.

Toronto’s first transit priority, Ford said, should be finishing the Sheppard subway.

“There’s an emerging council consensus on building a subway to the Scarborough Town Centre. We should finish what we started by closing the loop from Don Mills and extending it to Downsview,” Ford said. “Starting the downtown relief line is also important but not as important as getting a subway to Scarborough.”

Both TTC CEO Andy Byford and TTC Chair and City Councillor Karen Stintz have said Toronto has an “urgent need” for a Downtown-Relief-Line (DRL) to take pressure off the Yonge-University-Spadina line.

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Ford’s prioritization of the Scarborough subway ahead of the DRL may mark the beginning of yet another transit battle at city hall as other members of council have championed the DRL as the best place to invest federal funds.

Shortly after the budget was released Thursday, Stintz tweeted her support for building the DRL in Toronto.

“Toronto should apply ASAP for New Federal Gov’t Funding,” Stintz tweeted. “We’ve prioritized our TTC needs. DRL now.”

Stintz’s tweet also found favour with fellow Councillor Josh Matlow who publically tweeted his agreement on the urgent need for a DRL.

Matlow also noted that Metrolinx and the TTC have designated the DRL as the next phase of transit projects in Toronto.

Ford also focused Toronto’s roads and highways during his Friday afternoon press conference at city hall.

In the coming weeks, Ford said he will be inviting the federal government to invest part of that fund into Toronto’s rapidly deteriorating transit infrastructure.

“Transit is obviously a priority but that is not the only priority. Roads are also important. TTC busses rely on good roads,” Ford said. “Our road system is old and requires hundreds of millions of dollars to keep it working and safe.”

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A Global News investigation unveiled in December numerous problems throughout the elevated portion of the Gardiner Expressway.

City council voted to invest nearly $500 million over the next 10 years to keep the Gardiner Expressway functional.

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