Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives are vowing to solve Toronto’s traffic problems by handing the TTC’s subway and light-rail lines over to Metrolinx, the province’s regional transit authority, and building subways instead of light-rail lines.
In the discussion paper released Thursday entitled Paths To Prosperity, PC Leader Tim Hudak says Toronto should focus its efforts on building subways instead of other forms of surface transit such as light rail, arguing that "world-class cities build underground."
The document has few specifics about how to pay for a more expensive, subway-focused transit plan, saying only that the Tories would build subways "when finances become available."
Earlier this year, Toronto council opted to build a light-rail line along Sheppard Avenue East connecting into Scarborough. Mayor Rob Ford voted against the plan, arguing that residents in the area preferred subways.
"I’ve talked to people from Scarborough who are greatly disappointed that any plans for a subway out to Scarborough have been totally thrown out the window," said Hudak. "They’re seen as second-class citizens."
Hudak said building subways would spur job creation in Toronto.
"You can’t actually build a city around streetcars, you can around subways and that’s the path we’re going to go down."
Stintz says Toronto looks forward to LRTs
TTC chair Karen Stintz responded to Hudak’s remarks Thursday, defending the current light-rail lines under development in Toronto and pointing to Calgary as an example of a city where LRTs are an integral part of the transit system.
"LRTs are a fast, efficient mode of transit which Calgary and the prime minister’s riding are now enjoying, the right transit at the right price," Stintz wrote in a commentary she posted on her personal website.
"We look forward to the arrival of Toronto’s LRTs."
Stintz also said she looks forward to hearing details from the Progressive Conservative leader about when funds would be made "available" to build subways in Toronto.
Hudak's discussion paper also calls for tax cuts and a plan to balance the province's budget by 2017.
The plan doesn't get into specifics about returning the province to balance, saying only that a Tory government would reduce the size and cost of government while consulting with business leaders about which tax cuts would be most effective.