My article for this week on NOW is up. The topic overlaps with a previous piece on this site TTC Announces Capital Spending Plan For City Building Fund, but more from the background of TTC’s shifting project priorities and the dangers of planning for shared funding with other governments.
Regular readers here will know that I bemoaned the policy change from major renewal of Line 2 to patching up the existing fleet and infrastructure for an extra decade. This change wafted through TTC Board “approval” without any public discussion a year ago, and now TTC management appear to be rethinking their position. The result? A large chunk of the new money in Mayor Tory’s City Building Fund goes to projects that should never have been deferred in the first place.
Of course if there had been a big debate about funding for the existing Line 2, this might just have pricked the balloon that is the Scarborough Subway Extension. Imagine if we said that the extension could not be built until the existing line was brought up to scratch?
Maintenance and renewal versus shiny new builds is an endless story with public infrastructure.
To sort out the real substance of the issue minus any conflicts of interest, I beg to ask if you are being paid to write all of these articles for NOW.
Steve: Yes, that is a paid gig, as is my work for Spacing magazine. I am hard pressed to think where there might be a conflict of interest between me and NOW, or the targets of my articles. I am certainly not being paid by the City, TTC nor the evil empire, Metrolinx.
Obviously, the potential topics for articles are the subject of discussion with my editor, but if I were to receive any editorial “direction” about articles beyond length, clarity and basic writing style, I would stop writing for them.
As you claim, by your handle, to be a teacher, you may have noticed that I never weighed in on matters affecting the TDSB, my long-time former employer from whom I am now retired, or education generally as that would have been a direct conflict.
I get my pension from OMERS who have their fingers in many property developments, but as I have no way of producing a benefit to myself through them, there is no conflict talking about what might be a good or bad piece of city building from a transit point of view.