Morning Brew: Transit funding debate goes off the rails, city votes not to endorse taxes, Ford and Stintz square off, elevator workers strike, and 118,000 millionaires
The long and winding road of Toronto transit took another sharp turn yesterday when a council debate about which taxes the city should recommend to the province descended into a heated debate about the merits of various subway projects. In the end, council voted not to express any preference and pass up its chance to provide valuable input.
The meeting was also marked by a lively exchange between councillor and TTC Chair Karen Stintz and Rob Ford, who appeared to be avoiding questions on how he might vote on taxes later in the meeting. "I support subways. You support LRTs. I do not support LRTs. You support streetcars. I do not support streetcars," he said. Here's the rest of the exchange.
Rob Ford called the decision not to contribute any information on taxes "one of the greatest days in Toronto's history." Ultimately, it means Toronto is unlikely to get a Yonge relief line or any of the new transit projects it desperately needs. Better buy a bike.
An elevator workers strike that has 800 repair personnel on the picket lines could have serious implications for Toronto's high rises and subway riders. Breakdowns and scheduled service work have been put on hold in many tall buildings, prompting office workers and residents in to worry about how they'll get up and down safely. The TTC says its station elevators may stay out of service for longer if they break down.
In other TTC news, the Yonge line will be closed tomorrow for signal upgrades between Bloor and Union. Riders needing to get downtown should use the University line instead. The line will re-open Sunday morning.
In case you care what Rob Ford was drinking at Wednesday night's Leafs playoff game - it was something in a neon blue cup, Diet Coke apparently. Last game it was ginger ale.
Toronto is home to 118,000 millionaires - more than Moscow, Sydney, and Chicago, but not as many as Tokyo and New York City. London-based wealth consultancy firm WealthInsight also found Hogtown is home to more than a quarter of Canada's mega-rich, and 5 billonaires. Any guesses who they are?
Rob Ford is getting praise for hiring a new photographer (or at least buying a nicer camera) from Vice. The magazine ran a piece recently mocking the official pictures of Toronto's leader. Now it seems things have improved. Check out some well-framed pictures of Ford posing with the Hamburglar and holding bags of garbage.
Finally, if you haven't done so already, download blogTO's new food trucks app and find which mobile outlets are serving near you. There are menus, photographs, and a ton of details on each vendor. Yum.
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.
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