Doug Ford wants to give the TTC back to the city if it supports his Ontario Line
All of the hullabaloo surrounding Ontario Premier Doug Ford's big plan to take over Toronto's subway system may have been for naught, according to a new report.
Provincial government officials are currently "negotiating a deal" with the City of Toronto that would see Ontario abandon its attempt to take ownership of the TTC subway in exchange for Mayor John Tory's endorsement of Ford's controversial new Ontario Line.
This, according to "sources with knowledge of the talks" who spoke to the Toronto Star in a piece published on Tuesday.
Access to rapid transit can change lives. It should be planned on evidence, thoughtful use of tax dollars & providing quality service. Premier Ford, this is too important to be used for dishonest populist electioneering or as a political bargaining chip. https://t.co/SomTTrcIq7— Josh Matlow (@JoshMatlow) October 9, 2019
Neither the city nor the province have confirmed that a deal is in the works, though a compromise that would let Toronto maintain control of its own subway system would likely be seen as a win for Tory's camp.
Legally, the province can do whatever it wants in terms of transferring responsibility for Toronto's assets — much to the chagrin of city councillors and transit advocates who've been actively fighting against the TTC "upload" since it was announced.
Backing down from his aggressive TTC takeover plan after so many months of defending it against critics would be a major concession for Ford, meaning the province must really want council's support for the Ontario Line.
Toronto City Council is expected to vote on whether or not to endorse the ambitious (and ambiguous) $11-billion downtown subway line at the end of October.
Here is why giving Ford a dance partner in Ottawa is such a huge risk for Toronto. The Ontario Line is a doodle on a map. No costing, no studies & no hope of ever being built. Even the timetable is fiction...Yet Scheer has announced he will fund it. ITS NOT A REAL PROJECT../1 pic.twitter.com/66DFNt6Y0j— Adam Vaughan 🇨🇦 (@TOAdamVaughan) October 9, 2019
As it stands now, many are opposed to building the "crown jewel" of Ford's transit plan, given that it would mean scrapping Toronto's own, long-planned downtown relief line.
Ford's team maintains that the Ontario Line would be more than twice as long as the planned relief line at 15 kilometres. It would also be finished two years earlier than Toronto's own downtown relief line, according to the province — a notion that critcs have slammed as unrealistic.
While design work on the Ontario Line is still in its very early stages, the new subway route would be finished in 2027 and run all the way from Ontario Place to the Ontario Science Centre — if it does, in fact, ever get built.
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