Rob Ford LRT Knowledge Questioned As Subway Plan Passes (VIDEO)

Posted: Updated:

Transit plans in Toronto have become so complex that few citizens understand what's going on anymore. But, what about the mayor?

That's the question councillor Josh Matlow posed Tuesday during a heated debate at City Hall over the whether the city should replace Scarborough's rapid transit line (RT) with a new light rail line (LRT) or a subway extension.

Council voted for the subway plan on Wednesday by a margin of 28 to 16.

Matlow aggressively raised doubts about whether the mayor understood the now defunct plan to build an LRT.

At one point, Ford said that St. Clair Ave. has an LRT when it actually has a streetcar line. The plan for the Scarborough LRT called for a line that would have mostly avoided existing roadways.

Ford has consistently argued that an LRT would dig up roadways and cause traffic chaos.

The mayor has long backed plans to expand Toronto's transit network with more subways, an idea that was a key plank in his 2010 campaign platform.

Deputy speaker John Parker repeatedly asked Matlow to calm down and be civil. For his part, Ford sarcastically told Matlow: "I wish I was as smart as you."

Since Ford's election in 2010, the city has been beset with battles on dismantling former mayor David Miller's Transit City plans.

Miller's plan called for seven new LRT lines (among many other improvements and expansions), all but three of which are now defunct.

Ford had suggested that some of the money for one of these LRT lines might be diverted to help pay for a subway, but the mayor later backed away from his statements.

The plan to extend the Bloor-Danforth line into Scarborough, which council approved Wednesday, remains contingent on nailing down funding from the provincial and federal governments. Ford has said he'll need the $1.8 billion the province had pledged to replacing the RT line with an LRT as well as an addition $1 billion from the feds in order to pay for the subway extension.

Ford surprised many last week when he agreed to a "modest'' tax increase to fund the subway project -- which Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne took as a sign that he may be open to new levies to pay for other transit projects.

"The principle of needing to have a new revenue stream to build transit .. there seems to be more agreement on that principle now, and from my perspective, that's a very good thing,'' she said Monday.

But the mayor quickly quashed any hope that he'd had a change of heart, saying he's still "totally opposed'' to any new fees.

Ford has said federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is "on board,'' with providing infrastructure money for the subway.

"They haven't given me an exact dollar value, but they said they're at the table with us. They agree with our subway proposal if it gets through council," Ford said.

With files from The Canadian Press

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story said councillor Matlow referred to Ford as "your worship" out of frustration. The use of "your worship" to address the mayor is actually a part of city council protocol.

Related on HuffPost:

Close
Best Photos From Rob Ford Crack Scandal
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Around the Web

Rob Ford backs off from suggestion Sheppard LRT funds could be reallocated to ...

Scarborough subway 'one step closer' for Toronto, Rob Ford says

Ford 'totally opposed' to revenue tools despite tax bump for subway extension

Ford confident Toronto will secure subway funding

Reality dawns on Rob Ford about taxes and subways: James

Rob Ford: Scarborough subway 'one step closer'