Cutting through Premier DOUG FORD’S hyperbole, the provincial government’s plan for the TORONTO Transit Commission (TTC) might work. Its ace seems to be money, and the province’s ability to cut through red tape when it comes to the subway’s expansion in the Greater Toronto/Hamilton Area (GTHA).
The plan, presented at Queen’s Park, says Ontario would take over the building and maintenance of the present & future subway; TTC would deal with day-to-day operations; TTC would continue to run the streetcars and buses and keep fare box revenues; a push would be made to integrate the TTC with GO and regional transit systems; the province & city would agree on the dollar value of the present subway system and the maintenance price tag.
According to the Toronto Star, the two sides are negotiating the subway’s value. It seems to be worth about $9-billion, with maintenance and upgrade of tunnels, signals and track amounting to $5.6-billion. This suggests, according to the Star, there’d be a one-time net gain of $3.4-billion for the city.
In a report published by the TTC in January/2019, the subway network and stations would need an estimated $22-billion in capital investment over the next 15 years. This wouldn’t include expansion projects, such as the downtown relief line.
This could be a ‘spider and the fly’ type story. “I think we’re being suckered,” said city councillor JOSH MATLOW, the only councillor who voted against talks with the province.