Scarborough transit debate back on for 2014 election
Scarborough transit, and in particular the question of whether or not a subway should be built in the former Toronto borough, was a crucial election issue in 2010. It's not a stretch to say that in addition to his promise to stop the "gravy train," Rob Ford's determination to see a subway built in Scarborough was key to taking the mayoralty. With what appeared to be a strong mandate at the outset of term, Ford moved to ditch the LRT-based Transit City plans in favour of heavy rail. It wasn't, of course, that simple.
Over the last four years, city council has repeatedly debated the future of Scarborough transit, going back and forth on subways versus LRT on a number of occasions. The current plan is a three-stop extension of the Bloor-Danforth Line, but despite all the previous debate at least two of the main candidates have announced that they'd ditch subway plans in favour of LRT. David Soknacki unveiled this portion of his platform a couple months ago, but with Olivia Chow also on board, the future of transit expansion east of Kennedy might be back up in the air.
"We need to move people faster and do it now," Chow said at a press conference yesterday. One of the ways is to respect Scarborough and make sure we can build something faster, build better services four years faster and with four more stops."
At a minimum, this is set to be another huge issue in the 2014 election, which is, if nothing else, an indictment of the City's ability to implement a coherent long term transit plan. John Tory has keyed in on the Downtown Relief Line (or what he calls the Yonge Relief Line), Rob Ford wants to build subways basically everywhere but has no revenue plan in place, and Karen Stintz's history of flip-flopping on Scarborough transit doesn't inspire confidence.
Having a healthy debate about major transit infrastructure is a good thing, but at some point we actually do need to commit to a particular project and get it built.