Transit City 'not tenable' without council support: minister
Ontario's transportation minister says the completion of Toronto's Transit City plan is "not tenable" without the support of the city's incoming council.
Kathleen Wynne qualified those remarks Tuesday by saying that the province has "no more money" to build additional subway lines, which mayor-elect Rob Ford has said he wants to do.
She spoke one day before Ford is to meet with TTC general manager Gary Webster. A number of media outlets reported Ford will ask Webster to stop work on Transit City, which calls for the installation of light rail transit lines across the city.
But Ford cannot build any more subway lines without the support of the province, which has already allocated $9.3 billion to a transportation plan for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, of which Transit City is a component.
"Obviously we think there's a plan in place and we'd like to continue with that plan. If city council and the transit commission has a different idea, we'll have to have that conversation with them," Wynne said.
"To go ahead without the co-operation of the city would not be tenable."
$1.3B committed in contracts
However, $1.3 billion has already been committed in Transit City-related contracts, Wynne said. The province would have to pay penalties for breaking those contracts in the event that the Transit City plan is abandoned. Wynne said she did not know how large those penalties would be.
The TTC has also spent $137 million on the project, and construction of the Sheppard Avenue East light rail line has already begun.
Ford has said he would not ask for new transit funding; rather he would try to persuade the Ontario government and its transportation agency Metrolinx to divert $4 billion in funding already allocated to Transit City.
One of his top priorities is to complete the Sheppard Avenue subway line from Downsview station to the Scarborough Town Centre, adding about 12 kilometres and 10 new stations to the line by 2015. He also hopes to extend the Bloor-Danforth subway line to Scarborough Town Centre.
Wynne has said she has not spoken directly to Ford about any future transit plans, but said the province worked for years with the city to develop Transit City.
"This was not a plan that was imposed by the province. This was developed as part of regional transit plan," she said.