For three years, we have pretended that the Spadina Subway extension was a worthwhile project. We hoped that lobbyists from York University and their pals at Queen’s Park would look kindly on poor little Toronto. Maybe they would give us more powers in a City of Toronto Act. Maybe they would actually start paying for social services that are really a provincial responsibility. Maybe they would give us better, ongoing funding for transit.
Three years of tugging our forelocks and saying “please, sir, we want some more” were a total waste of time. All of the transit spending and social services budget relief go to the 905 and Toronto gets nothing.
Toronto has new taxing powers, and it should use them. Build the city with the “revenue tools” we have and stop being so dependent on other governments.
We have been duped into an unworkable formula of 1/3 shares by the federal, provincial and municipal governments. This makes every project, every funding request, hostage to federal and provincial whims most of which avoid spending on Toronto. Yes, it’s outrageous that we get less transit funding than cities in any other major country, but we should stop holding our breath for this to change.
Now Toronto needs to make its spending priorities fit a Toronto agenda, not one for Queen’s Park.
The Spadina Subway extension exists for two reasons:
- The combined force of York University’s lobbying and the Finance Minister’s desire to see a subway into his riding.
- The long-standing resistance of the TTC to examine and promote any alternatives to subway extensions.
Any realistic examination of “value for money” would have killed this line, and especially the extension into Vaughan, long ago. Any proper examination of alternatives would have examined an extensive network of LRT, busways and commuter rail to serve this sector. That debate hides in back corridors because nobody in power wants to challenge the inevitability of a subway to York University and beyond, nobody wants to support a fair analysis of alternatives.
Toronto should withdraw support for the Spadina Subway immediately.