Transit City is best for Scarborough

Oh, Rob Ford. You have to wonder what’s going through that head of his.

Getting rid of Transit City would rob thousands of Scarborough residents of rapid transit.

The proposed replacement Sheppard subway route will only travel to Scarborough Town Centre. It will also serve drastically fewer people than the accepted light rapid transit (LRT) plans, which would extend all the way to Morningside Avenue, connecting the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus with the rest of the city in time for the 2015 Pan Am Games.

Scarborough residents will truly be the losers if Ford is successful in his plot.

Luckily, Ford’s declaration that Transit City is dead may still have a long way to go before it’s written in stone. His plan still needs to be accepted by the Toronto Transit Commission and both the provincial and federal governments, which put up the funds for Transit City.

And that’s not to mention the rest of city council, which can overrule Ford’s goal to end Transit City. Fortunately it looks like many councillors haven’t let the new mayor pressure them to see things his way.

It seems odd that Ford was elected on a campaign to end the “gravy train” and save our money, but now he’s willing to throw away the $130 million that has already been spent on Transit City. If the plan is scrapped, this is money we will never see again.

Many of the contracts for Transit City have also already been paid, and getting out of the $1.3-billion deal with Metrolinx will cost us another large sack of cash. There’s also the possibility of legal bills associated with getting out of the contracts, only to then sign new deals for subways.

It’s been said that Ford’s plan for a Sheppard subway extension will cost $4 billion more than the LRT line, which has already broken ground. But no one has answers as to where this money will come from. Our provincial and federal governments have already made it clear that they have given us everything they have to offer.

And good luck getting a subway line built in Scarborough by the time the 2015 Pan Am Games come rolling in.

Ford needs to take a look at where service is needed most and how the TTC can best serve its citizens. Just throwing as much as you can underground will benefit the construction industry more than the city’s transit riders, at least for the foreseeable future.

Clearly, scrapping Transit City was one of his campaign promises. This is one promise that should be broken.