TTC chair outvoted on transit report
Karen Stintz says allies of Mayor Rob Ford are acting against the best interest of transit in Toronto, while a group of Scarborough councillors are voicing support for a fully buried light-rail transit plan the TTC chair opposes.
Stintz was visibly upset on Tuesday after Ford supporters on the TTC board voted to turn down a request for more information on the pros and cons of the Eglinton Crosstown line.
The vote means TTC commissioners have instructed staff to stop studying any further above-ground options.
Staff had been preparing a report about Ford's plan to bury the line underground.
Stintz had suggested that only a portion of the line be underground and the rest run, as originally planned, above ground.
Stintz says the other commission members have voted against getting a report on how to best spend the $8.4 billion.
"They don't want to know that we just paid a $700 million premium to buy low-floor vehicles .... so they could run at grade and the commission just decided they don't want to hear about that. They don't want to hear about any alignment that doesn't include it being completely buried," she said.
Stintz has suggested that burying the portion in the middle of the city — and running the LRT at ground level as it was designed to do, in the eastern section. Some suggest that move could save as much as $2 billion.
The TTC chair says the move ends her compromise plan. It will now be up to council whether to proceed with mayor's plan or seek alternatives.
"I still believe that a compromise can be reached," she said.
Stintz’s continued hope for compromise came on the same day a group of Scarborough councillors announced their support of the mayor's plan to keep the forthcoming Eglinton crosstown underground.
Councillors Michelle Berardinetti, Gary Crawford, Michael Thompson, Mike Del Grande and Norm Kelly held a news conference on Wednesday afternoon highlighting their support for the buried option.
The mayor stood with the councillors at the corner of Eglinton Avenue East and Victoria Park Avenue and said Scarborough does not need an LRT line on Eglinton that would be snarled with traffic in rush hour.
"We need a subway right here along Eglinton and [regional transit agency] Metrolinx has a plan to build one," Ford said during the supper hour rush. "Let's get moving on these projects. You don't have to look very far to see why we need subways here. Look behind me. You cannot move. Just imagine putting a streetcar in the middle of that traffic."