Ford leading Scarborough down tricky transit track

It was just over a year ago that Scarborough citizens helped vote in Rob Ford as our mayor.

The day he took office, we regretted it.

Ford derailed Transit City, a plan that would have seen Scarborough better served by the TTC. In its place, Ford offered up a Sheppard subway extension from Don Mills station to the Scarborough Town Centre.

The Sheppard subway extension is just one example of how candidate Ford is much different, more hopeful, than Mayor Ford.

Just this past week, it was revealed that this proposed line is suffering from a lack of funding from the public sector as well as the private. Some city councillors are now saying the planned extension is dead.

Ford pledged the line would be completed before the 2015 Pan Am Games, an event that would be a highlight for Scarborough if planned and executed properly. (If early indications are correct, it doesn’t look like it will be.)

A pool facility at the University of Toronto Scarborough campus would be well serviced by this line but, for now at least, the possibility exists neither the aquatic centre nor the subway line will be completed in time.

It seems stations on the Sheppard extension will open as they are finished, one by one. Scarborough citizens will have to wait patiently, putting their transit hopes in Ford.

The Sheppard subway extension is just one example of how candidate Ford is much different, more hopeful, than Mayor Ford.

Those in charge of finding the money for the line raised the spectre of imposing road tolls and other unpopular methods of revenue raising earlier in the year. This despite Ford’s campaign promise not to raise any new taxes or tolls.

Construction on the line is reportedly set to be underway in 2014, just in time for the next civic election. Ford will surely be holding up this extension as one way he’s helping Scarborough, grasping for the votes that helped him into office in 2010.

In 2014, we need to rethink what Scarborough wants and deserves. If Ford wants our votes again, this Sheppard extension is just the starting point. On the track to reelection, its just one stop.

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