Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said Friday that completing the Sheppard subway takes priority over the downtown relief line now that the 2013 federal budget has given some new funding to cities.
Ford’s comments came during a news conference Friday afternoon in Toronto to discuss the city's next steps after Thursday’s budget announcement.
Ford acknowledged that transit is a priority but added that nothing is more pressing than having a subway in Scarborough.
"Our transit plan must be focused on building transit that is truly rapid," Ford said. "…and that’s subways. The priority for transit expansion, first and foremost, is finishing the Sheppard subway."
"There is an emerging council consensus on building a subway to Scarborough Town Centre. We should finish what we started by closing the loop to Don Mills and extending it to Downsview. That will provide new connectivity and relieve stress on the Yonge line."
Ford’s comments were in direct contrast to TTC Chair Karen Stintz’s remarks on Thursday, where she emphasized that the downtown relief line, or DRL, was the city’s main transit concern.
Stintz released a statement with links to recent transit studies Friday afternoon, following the mayor’s news conference, reaffirming her stance.
"A Sheppard Avenue East subway has now been judged twice by experts — in March 2012, and again in this report below — as a waste of taxpayer money," the release on her website read. "The continued lack of private interest supports this."
Ford also mentioned the issue of affordable housing.
"There are 160,000 people living in Toronto community housing….Our social housing is in very poor shape and we are working very hard to turn that ship around," he said.
The mayor also mentioned clean water and road work but reiterated that they were "still crunching the numbers" in regards to budget and that it all seemed like "good news" for Toronto.