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Tory now wants Yonge extension, Downtown Relief Line built at same time

MOMIN QURESHI AND NEWS STAFF | posted Wednesday, May 17th, 2017

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Mayor John Tory discusses aligning with York Region mayors to advance transit funding, May 16, 2017. CITYNEWS

A week after taking a hard line stance against the Yonge subway extension, Mayor John Tory is changing his tune.

During the executive committee meeting on Tuesday, Tory aligned himself with the mayors of Richmond Hill and Markham, saying the Yonge extension and Downtown Relief Line should be built at the same time.

Last week the mayor warned that the Yonge subway extension, which would see the Yonge Street portion of Line 1 expand out to York Region, may be put on hold if the province didn’t hand over more money for the Downtown Relief Line.

Tory claimed that expanding Line 1 out to York Region, without a relief line in place, would only increase congestion on the already overcrowded line.

But instead of fighting a battle he may not win, Tory is creating a unified front with York Region mayors.

The three mayors will head to Queen’s Park and request funding for both projects.

“We have a really great situation here,” Tory said. “We share, as the biggest region to the north of Toronto and the city of Toronto itself, the two projects we both know are essential to proceed hand in hand with each other.”

“None of these projects can proceed without all three governments taking part.”

It’s a move that had one city councillor calling the mayor out.

“I’m shocked and amazed Mayor Tory would make an announcement like this so unilaterally,” Coun. Josh Matlow said.

“It’s folly. It’s maybe good politics but it’s not responsible.”

Matlow said it is “a reckless and irresponsible management of our transit priorities.”

Kathleen Wynne’s government has expressed its support for the Yonge subway extension.

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