Public Transit Coalition / Save Transit City Rally

The Public Transit Coalition, a recently formed umbrella group for supporters of Public Transit, will hold a rally at City Hall in Council Chambers on Wednesday, April 21 at 6:00 pm.

Additional related information is on the TTCriders website.

Facebook groups have been created for “Friends of” the various Transit City lines.

24 thoughts on “Public Transit Coalition / Save Transit City Rally

  1. Hmm, I’ve always thought that a rally at Queens Park would be more appropriate, since they would hold more public blame than City Hall.


  2. I hope all these LRT lines get their funding secured and construction started, but, I also hope for more investment in subways as well. The downtown relief line needs to be started without a doubt, it would take a lot of pressure off of the Yonge/Bloor station. Speaking of which the Yonge/Bloor station needs the work done, I saw some plans for this station that would greatly improve passenger flow, much more effective then the barrier they just put up.

    I know all this needs funding but can’t the province open up the purses a bit more. I am going to compare TO to LA for a minute, LA only had city buses and regional buses before 1984 and now the current system has a total length of 126.5 km. with two subway lines (Red & Purple Line) and three LRT lines (Blue, Green and Gold Lines). California is almost bankrupt but they are still building transit lines, the Expo line is set to open this year and will add 14k to their system.

    I really think McGuinty should be funding transit much more because it will help Toronto and Ontario remain economically competitive while helping the environment substantially. I think this investment would put Ontario heavily in debt but would keep us working once the infrastructure is in place and the province would be able to effectively tackle the debt. Not only California went into debt for this type of investment but the country of Spain as well has heavily invested in PT all over the country.


  3. Just out of curiosity Steve, do you know of any MPPs who might show up to this event? I mean, they are the ones whom we’re trying to get attention from….

    Steve: I suspect we will see some from the NDP caucus, but whether any Liberals will dare showing up is another matter. They all have a standard script about how the funding is not cut, just deferred, and if they go off message, they are in very hot water at Queen’s Park, never mind in Council Chambers.


  4. Many feel that the Ont Gov is cutting the budget at the moment, to force the city of Toronto into really looking at Transit City, and if it is the proper plan for improving transit. Many feel TC was forced through without proper studies, etc.

    It is also suspected funding will come once the city election is done, and the new mayor comes out with a revised plan for better transit.

    Steve: I beg your pardon. The lines that have been funded were reviewed in detail by Metrolinx who blessed them as a good idea. Indeed, the Finch LRT, which is now threatened by the budget cuts, was extended on paper to Don Mills not by the city, but by Queen’s Park. The idea that somehow these lines didn’t get appropriate study is a convenient fiction to make it look entirely as if the city is at fault for pushing forward the plan. Meanwhile, Metrolinx approved the projects, and Queen’s Park announced funding (along with Ottawa in the case of the Sheppard line). If there is a lack of proper review, then far more than the City are to blame.


  5. Say Premier McGuinty does not change his mind. Is there a Plan B somewhere? Would Plan B consist of moving to save whatever the top 3 LRT lines are while deciding to cancel the rest?

    Steve: First, we have to assume that McGuinty is telling the truth that he is only deferring, not deleting projects from the medium-range spending plans. The Plan B already in progress will see Metrolinx declare what will be done, short term, with the money that is still on the table. However, Ontario still has not grasped the need to create new revenue sources and the reality that building transit on the scale of The Big Move is a new, permanent capital (and later operating) budget line for Queen’s Park.

    By keeping on the pressure for Transit City, supporters make sure that their voice is heard, and that money comes back onto the table as fast as possible. The real worry is that some other pet project such as a subway to Richmond Hill or a GO train to Peterborough will supplant the Transit City projects because of political pressure.


  6. I hope that with the news today that GM is to pay off more of its government loans, 5 years early, that some of it will be able to go to saving the transit projects.


  7. Where’s the rally for the DRL?

    Steve: When you can find a room full of people who want it built first, then you can have a rally.


  8. Steve: When you can find a room full of people who want it built first, then you can have a rally.

    Count me in… I would like DRL built before any northward expansion of the subway.


  9. The DRL is in the EA stage. Let the EA finish so that we know what it should cost before we ask for funding. It would self-defeating to repeat the same mistake as was made with Transit City where far too little information was available to make an even remotely reliable estimate could possibly be made. Metrolinx estimates the cost at $3.9B, but I don’t think this is sufficiently refined because far too few paramters are defined at this early stage. To use that as the basis for a funding request would be premature and leave the DRL in a very weak position. I suggest participating where possible in the EA and let the it run its course. Ask for funding when we know what we want to build (there’s at least a dozen ways to build the DRL).

    Steve: We need to know not just the cost and alignment options for the DRL, but the offsetting savings including fleet and carhouse requirements for very frequent service on the YUS, station expansion costs and disruption effects at Bloor-Yonge (and possibly other locations), the potential for and viability of frequent service by GO to Richmond Hill, just for starters. This needs to be reviewed as a set of network options, not just one project.


  10. I hope there’s a good turnout, but in all fairness to Michael’s comment, Metrolinx just rubber-stamped every municipality’s proposals from Mississauga to York Region to Toronto. If Miller’s #1 priority had been the DRL, right now we’d be talking about the funding delay for that. It was all political and not based on need or future demand at all.

    Finch and Sheppard have been running with buses since they were built up in the 1960s. If we haven’t reached LRT demand yet on those routes after 40 years, why are we magically expecting ridership to increase beyond the capacity of buses in less than 10 years? Yeah yeah … intensification — well I haven’t seen it outside of downtown. In fact, the only place I’ve seen it in the inner 416 suburban ring is … get this … along the Sheppard subway route!

    It became pretty obvious that the City had maybe too much sway when Metrolinx backed down from the idea of an Eglinton subway/ICTS line. Remember, this is the same organization that wanted to build a 4-track express/local Eglinton system. If Metrolinx was really calling the shots, they’d have told the City where to go, because Eglinton is clearly a regional corridor.


  11. This will be a tough fight. If Toronto Council can pass an unanimous motion supporting Transit City, it will at least show some solidarity there. So far, this is not happening. Will the citizens turn the area in front of Queen’s Park into the streets of Athens? Or will Torontonians occupy Queen’s Park in the same manner as our Thai friends dressed in red shirts?

    I wrote to my MPP already reminding him that voting day is coming near. Even if the voters forget this, history will judge him. It will not be a kind judgement.

    On a side note, according to the OLG, Rama grossed $113.7m in gaming revenues during Q3. At the present 20% tax rate, Rama contributes $22.74 million per quarter in taxes. Transit City (in full) requires about $1 billion a year to build. To replace the lost provincial money, we need $500 to 600 million a year.

    This means that it will take 30 Rama sized gaming facilities to pay for this. It is not that far fetched. 30 Ramas will only give us about 76000 slot machines (2600 each). This is for a city with over 4 million people (526 slot machine per capita). Las Vegas only have a population of 500000 and they have over 190000 slot machines. That is about 2.63 slot machine per capita. So there is room for gaming to grow here and pay for our transit without asking for help all the time.


  12. Sorry, I made some mistakes in regards to the wordings. It should say 52 people per slot machine in Toronto. For Las Vegas, it should say 2.63 people per slot machine. Thank you.


  13. I don’t see what’s so bad about Toronto asking for money from Ontario; after all, a huge chunk of Ontario is Toronto. So long as that is true, Ontario should be obligated to help out in projects happening in… Ontario!


  14. Steve, did you get a chance to read an supportive article about LRT?

    I wish that more arguments were made against subway besides costs. He could have mentioned inflexibility of alignment, loss of connection between transit and street level, more energy consumed to move heavier vehicles, etc.

    Steve: There’s only so much you can fit in an article of that length.


  15. Good editorial in today’s Toronto Star on how critics keep ignoring European evidence on light rail.

    Steve: Strictly speaking, it was an op-ed piece, not an editorial. The difference is that an editorial represents the paper’s official view, while an op-ed merely had to pass the filter of what the paper chooses to print.


  16. Is there a “Friends of Eglinton Subway or Friends of Sheppard Subway” group, because I would “Friend” that!

    Steve: There already is an Eglinton Subway Facebook group, but none for the Sheppard line.


  17. I think it is time for people to accept that the Province has a funding crunch and they should focus on quickly securing funding for the top 2 lines (Eglinton and Scarborough-Malvern).

    Steve: If you accept that argument, then you play by Queen’s Park’s rules, and you will never see money for other lines. And, by the way, when did Scarborough Malvern, which isn’t even funded yet, get to be one of the “top two”? If we spend our time bickering about which line(s) will be built, we are right back to the all-debate, no-action mode of the past decades.


  18. According to a Liberal MPP (he shall remain nameless because he might read this), he said yesterday’s rally did absolutely nothing to convince their government to change their minds and future rallies will have no effect either. He also said to stop calling it a ‘cancellation’ as it is simply a ‘slow down in funding’.

    On a couple of occasions during the conversation, he said the issue regarding Transit City will not prevent his government from being re-elected next year because the people of Ontario are still haunted by the ghosts of Harris and Rae.

    Steve: The MPP in question (Glen Murray) seems to be a one man band trying to throw cold water on the campaign. The fact that he (and by implication Queen’s Park) feel this is necessary shows that they are sensitive to what is being said and feel the need to react. The problem is that there are much larger funding and philosophical issues about transit, and this is not just a fight about a few lines in Toronto.


  19. I emailed Mr. Murray on the day of the budget announcement. I still haven’t recieved a response (as have others I know of in our riding who attempted to contact him).

    Dear Mr. Murray,

    I am absolutely furious about this week’s budget announcement that included revoking promised transit funding for Toronto. I met with you not long ago during your campaign, and you promised me that as a former mayor and an inner city MPP you would be a strong advocate for urban issues. You also promised me that as someone who came to Toronto partly to work with Jane Jacobs, that you fully recognize the important role cities play as economic engines. As someone who claims to be coming from this informed perspective I can’t understand how you could allow your party to be so short sighted to try and ‘save money’ by destroying Transit City and other projects long in the works to finally catch up Toronto’s public transportation to where it should be (I don’t believe Finance Minister Duncan and Premier McGuinty when they say the projects are delayed indefinitely and not cancelled).

    This is not the only issue I have with the budget. As an anti-poverty advocate how could you allow welfare increases to fall below inflation (which is in real terms a cut in welfare spending)? How could you allow programs like dietary allowances for diabetics to be cancelled? You represent many of the city’s poor, why would you allow your party to throw them aside to save money rather than postponing corporate tax cuts? If you do not stand up and speak loudly (so I can hear you) for Toronto, you will not have my vote in the next election.


  20. It’s seems that our mayorality race is more of a threat to Transit City than the province’s budget problems. Of the 6 major candidates, only Pantalone and Smitherman have some enthusiasm for TC (more the former than the latter).

    According to the Star, Rossi wants to put the proceeds from the sale of Toronto Hydro towards the city’s $2.5 billion debt and reduce the $425 million the city pays each year in principal and interest charges on that debt saying the city could build two subway stops a year for $425 million. (I suspect he omitted the revenue lost due to privatisation.)

    And second place Rob Ford is very scary – slash and burn.

    Steve: I am amused that Rossi cites that $425-million as paying for whatever he happens to be talking about at the time. He has spent it several times over. And, yes, he seems to be omitting the lost revenue thanks to Hydro passing out of city hands.


  21. Richard says

    And second place Rob Ford is very scary – slash and burn.

    No, Rob Ford is NOT scary. He will not slash and burn. He is a businessman. He understands how to meet the bottom line and knows what is required and what is waste. It is waste he is against.

    Steve: Far too often in politics, “waste” is defined as something “I don’t like”. That’s one of Ford’s many problems.


  22. I haven’t looked much at Rob Ford’s background. Nor am I particularly interested in doing so.

    I am prompted to respond to Ray Kennedy’s remark, “He is a businessman. He understands how to meet the bottom line and knows what is required and what is waste.”

    1) It’s easy enough to pull out case after case of huge waste in business, because of incompetence, ego trips, whatever. Rob Ford isn’t Warren Buffett.

    2) I would guess that Mr. Ford is a *small* businessman if anything. He doesn’t strike me as a corporate exectuive. He wouldn’t get hired on the basis of his “experience” as a CEO of any moderately large organization, because knowing how to run a variety store doesn’t at all help you run a large business. The City of Toronto is much closer to being a large corporation than a corner store. Same principle applies.

    If the City of Toronto needs someone with business experience to be Mayor, we’d better start looking for an experienced and successful CEO, rather than a corner-store BIA type. Of course, that didn’t work out well for Mr. Tory.


  23. Ray Kennedy said: “No, Rob Ford is NOT scary. He will not slash and burn.”

    Rob Ford:
    – Put a motion to city council to cut city hall staff by 1% to avoid a tax increase. Figuratively, this sounds like slashing.
    – Is against Transit City. Figuratively, this sounds like burning a pragmatic Miller idea. What is Rob Ford’s alternative? Subways are more expensive.
    – Advocates eliminating the land transfer and vehicle registration taxes. What would be slashed to cover the lost revenue? I don’t believe there is anywhere near enough waste in the city to cover the lost revenue.


  24. According to today’s Star, Rocco Rossi says that $450 million is “the cost of two new kilometers of track and one new station every year.” I think that was true for the Sheppard line but do I understand correctly from your postings that the cost today may be over $300 million/KM? I think Sarah Thomson uses the same assumption as Rossi.

    Steve: The Spadina extension to Vaughan is $2.6-billion for 8.6km of subway. That’s $302-million/km. Where Rossi is going to get his dirt-cheap subways from, especially since we won’t actually start building them for a while and inflation will have its effect, I don’t know. It’s worth noting that the Spadina line required new trains, but only a modest expansion of storage capacity at Wilson Carhouse. Further system expansions will require a new carhouse, and one is proposed for the Richmond Hill extension.


Comments are closed.