Has Transit Short-Changed Toronto?

Toronto’s election campaign has produced two real stinkers in the Mayoralty race.  Rob Ford wants a few subway extensions, elimination of streetcars and everyone else left to buses.  Rocco Rossi would sell Toronto Hydro, use the supposed proceeds to build subways, and last but not least, extend the Spadina Expressway via a tunnel to downtown.

I will not waste space on critiques of these plans.  The proposition that subways will solve every problem has been discussed at length here and doesn’t need yet another round.  The idea of an expressway tunnel is so outlandish, so contrary to four decades of city planning, so much an attack on the City of Toronto, so unworthy of one who would be Mayor, that it deserves only contempt.

However, these ideas come from somewhere.  “Out there” the pollsters must say there is a gold mine of resentment by those who drive, and by those who would drive given half a chance.  That translates to support for anyone who wants all transit plans to take a back seat to right-thinking, road-oriented policies.  How, in a city that considers itself a progressive, pro-transit 21st century metropolis, is this possible?

The origins lie decades ago, even before the Spadina Expressway was stopped by then Premier Davis.

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