Doug Ford: Light rail plans example of 'war on the car'
A vote by provincial transit agency Metrolinx in favour of the construction of four light rail lines across Toronto by 2020 is the latest instance of a "war on the car" in the city, says Coun. Doug Ford.
The Metrolinx board voted unanimously Wednesday to move ahead with a modified version of the Transit City plan that Mayor Rob Ford has campaigned against.
Doug Ford, the mayor's brother and a key council ally, was quick to denounce the move.
"Some councillors down here, and obviously the province, are ignoring the people," Ford told reporters after the vote. "Once again, the people want subways and they're totally ignoring them. So let's wait until the election."
Metrolinx has outlined a number of target dates for construction and completion of the four LRT lines: Sheppard East, Finch West, Scarborough RT replacement and the Eglinton Crosstown.
Construction on the Sheppard East line will begin first, in 2014, under the Metrolinx recommendations.
Metrolinx aims to have all lines up and running by 2020.
Ford said the combination of the construction of new light rail, talk of implementing road tolls from some councillors and recommendations by the city's chief medical officer of health to reduce speed limits amounts to a renewed assault on drivers.
"It's definitely a war on the car," he said. "When you want to St. Clairize the whole city, turn Sheppard into the disaster on St. Clair, turn Eglinton into the disaster on St. Clair, that's a war on the car," he said, referencing the right-of-way streetcar that runs along St. Clair Avenue West.
Shortly after the Metrolinx vote on Wednesday, Transportation Minister Bob Chiarelli issued a statement in which he said the plan will now be brought to cabinet for final approval.
"The McGuinty government has made a firm, $8.4 billion commitment to these projects. Our focus is on getting shovels in the ground and delivering much-needed public transit projects for the residents of Toronto," he said.