I don't pride myself on being an urban mass transit expert.
I know for the longest time that our Mayor Ford has been pushing "subways, subways, subways."
Though how Toronto was to pay for this vision, always escaped me.
I also know that TTC Chairman Karen Stintz, who used to be a Ford ally, is a potential political rival to Ford.
Regardless of how one may feel about Karen Stintz, ( especially if you are a super patriot of Ford Nation), she sure knows a ton about transit.
I trust her judgment over Metrolinx Chairman Prichard, Wynne's man at Metrolinx, who has been known to do the Liberals' bidding at the right price.
So when Karen Stintz changes her view and supports the extension of the Bloor-Danforth subway line into Scarborough (along with Ford) as opposed to a new light rapid transit solution (LRT) currently being promoted by Metrolinx.
We should take notice.
According to a recent Globe and Mail article, Ford and Stintz want Metrolinx to amend its master agreement with the City of Toronto and replace its planned Scarborough LRT with a modified subway solution, presumably extending the Bloor-Danforth subway line and linking Kennedy Station to the Scarborough Town Centre.
This sounds reasonable.
The kicker of course is money.
Metrolinx had planned on a $1.8 billion dollar new LRT system to replace the current and aging rapid Scarborough Transit.
According to Metrolinx, the cost of switching from the proposed new LRT system to a subway solution is an additional $925 million.
Accordingly, if Toronto City Council decide to go this route, Metrolinx has threatened to take its "mass transit ball" and go home, leaving the City of Toronto to take over the financing, development and operational control of this Scarborough subway proposal.
Hey, Metrolinx, Prichard and CEO McCuaig, lighten up!!!
Apparently, Transportation Minister Murray is willing to consider an amendment to the above master agreement, provided that the City of Toronto, pick up the difference, potentially, $925 million, or ( I am estimating) roughly, the ultimate cost to Ontario taxpayers, of the Liberals' cancelling the Mississauga and Oakville gas plants.
Now if Premier Wynne truly cared about the long suffering and subway-challenged residents of Scarborough, she would be instructing Prichard/McCuaig to come up with a solution for the Scarborough residents.
To date, Wynne just does not appear interested in the Scarborough subway file.
Which is very insensitive. Because for years, the residents of Scarborough have been treated like second class citizens, when it comes to public transit.
For years, these residents, especially during the long cold winters, have had to wait, outside in the freezing cold to take overcrowded and poorly heated buses, while those lucky downtown urbanites have been whisked to and from work in the warm confines of the Spadina-University line, the Yonge line, or the Bloor line.
The residents in Josh Matlow's Ward (St. Pauls), have the choice of walking either to the Yonge subway at Yonge/Eglinton or to the University-Spadina line at Eglinton/Allen Expressway.
Those in the High Park, West Annex, Annex, Rosedale and Danforth areas, of course, have easy access to the Bloor subways.
The long suffering residents of Scarborough, not so much.
I commend the Scarborough councillors, especially, Thompson and Berardinetti, for standing up for the rights and interests of their Scarborough residents and for opposing the LRT solution and not giving up on the preferred subway solution.
These Scarborough councillors have demanded that their constituents deserve a subway and have forcefully argued that anything less (the LRT option) is treating them as second-class citizens.
I totally agree.
Such leftist councillors as Josh Matlow (St. Pauls) and Gord Perks (Parkdale-High Park), should be ashamed of themselves.
These councillors' urban constituents, these smug white, affluent gentry ("SWAG") enjoy the benefits of subway transit, but these councillors are unwilling to support the fact that Scarborough residents, many who are recent immigrants, non-white and less affluent, also deserve such subway transit opportunities and benefits.
Unlike in the tony neighborhoods of High Park, West Annex, Annex, Forest Hill, North Toronto, and Rosedale, where these SWAGS hang out, many residents in Scarborough, don't have the cash flow to choose between the convenience of their cars and the TTC. Bus travel or Scarborough Rapid Transit ( talk about a misnomer) are their only option.
I believe that these SWAGS forget that they themselves were immigrants or their parents or ancestors were once struggling immigrants, trying to get a foothold here in Toronto and in Canada.
And they were once in the minority, and were looked down upon as second or third class citizens.
To paraphrase, President John F. Kennedy.
"All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Scarborough, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words "Ich bin ein Scarberian."
In other words, We are all Scarberians!
And Scarberians deserve respect, fairness, equity and their own subway.
So Premier Wynne and Rosedale Rob, if you could find a few hundred million to pay off greedy US hedge funds and friendly power plant owners, perhaps you could take a few hundred million dollars from Samsung's sweetheart renewal energy contract.
Or from other sweetheart contracts with other overpaid renewal energy companies. Or the sweetheart contracts of the teachers or other special interest groups that support the Liberal Party.
And instead, do the right thing for a change, and lay some of that hard-earned taxpayer money on some of Toronto's most deserving and long-suffering residents in Scarborough.
And, once and for all, support a Scarborough subway!!!