Updated 9:45am: Environmentalists scoffed at plans to convert rail corridors to roadways. “Electrification of GO was our big chance to show the world just how green a transit system could be”, said Jamie Kirkpatrick of the Toronto Environmental Alliance. Trains would not just run with clean electricity from overhead wires, they could be covered with solar panels to provide supplementary power, and wind turbines could be mounted on every car.
“We always suspected Metrolinx didn’t believe in electrification, and Queen’s Park’s quick embrace of Ford’s scheme shows we were right”, said Kirkpatrick.
Transportation Minister Kathleen Wynne refused comment on rumours that a new “Ministry of Highways” would be unveiled in the coming provincial election campaign.
Updated 9:00am: Sources inside the Harper Campaign leaked word that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro, eager to show Federal support for Mayor Ford, will ditch their hopes for GO rail service to Peterborough. In its place will be the “Shining Waters Expressway” linking directly into Toronto’s highway system in the Don Valley. The Harper Government, if re-elected, will support the project through PPP Canada.
Mayor Ford welcomed the early endorsement of his rail corridor plan saying that with the private sector involved, the taxpayers of Ontario and Canada will benefit from his own innovative financing for the Sheppard subway.
Original post from 8:00 am:
As illustrated on our banner, the Ford clan has secret plans for conversion of the commuter rail network to a new highway scheme.
After banishing LRT from city streets, Mayor Ford continues the hunt for public spaces that are wasted on transit. Ford argues that the rail lines are empty most of the time, and they’re a vital resource in re-establishing the balance between transit and cars.
Premier McGuinty was not available for comment, but sources tell us that he’s open to any reasonable suggestion from his friend at City Hall. The Air Rail Link may be the first candidate for this scheme, although community opposition may demand that the line be reserved for hybrid cars.
More info as this story develops.
(Thanks to Len Dieter and Mike Sullivan for catching a test run of Ford’s proposal.)