Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said too many government bodies are impairing transit planning in Toronto, causing political gridlock as traffic congestion in the city worsens.
Speaking Friday on CBC Radio’s Metro Morning, Hudak said authority for Toronto’s subway and light rail lines should be uploaded to Metrolinx, the province’s regional transit authority.
"What was very frustrating to watch was this recent circus we had around transit funding," Hudak told Metro Morning host Matt Galloway. "There’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen if you will, but nobody is in charge. Nothing gets done at the end of the day."
Hudak’s comments come one day after his party released a discussion paper called Paths to Prosperity. In it, the PC leader calls for the city to invest in subways instead of surface transit options such as light rail.
The policy paper didn’t spell out how to pay for future subways, saying only they would be build when "finances are available."
Galloway pressed Hudak on how a Tory government would find money for subways — which cost significantly more than light rail lines — as the province struggles to pay down its $13-billion deficit.
The following exchange ensured:
Galloway: "I think everybody would agree that they’d love subways [but] you can’t pay for them. Where is the money going to come from to pay for these subways?"
Hudak: "So two things on that. First there’s been $8 billion plus that’s been set aside through the province. I don’t know when the election’s going to take place, I don’t know what the options are on the table. The principle I would follow as premier: where you can, you would build underground, you would build subways. Part of Eglinton-Crosstown is going to be underground. That’s good. Other parts aren’t so I want to keep that option on the table."
Galloway: "So if you won an election, would you then move away from the light rail plan that’s been approved by city council and move forward with a subway plan? Take that $8 million and say ‘This is going to be plowed into subways?’"
Hudak: "Depends what the timing is …"
Galloway: "Is that what you just said?"
Hudak: "You build subways if you have that opportunity. You’ve got to be practical about this, you have to be realistic ... If there are options on the table that allow you to put in subways the answer is yes."