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Toronto transit front-and-centre at executive committee meeting

CityNews | posted Tuesday, Jun 28th, 2016

Toronto’s transit future is in the hands of Mayor John Tory’s executive committee on Tuesday, with the Scarborough subway extension, SmartTrack, and how to pay for it all up for discussion.

Last week, Tory and the province announced new stops for the mayor’s SmartTrack and GO Transit’s Regional Express Rail Network.

The Scarborough subway has been a big topic on the transit agenda. It’s now a one-stop extension to Scarborough Town Centre, but is expected to cost $900 million more than originally estimated, to around $3 billion. Despite the increase, Tory is committed to moving forward with the plan.

Related stories:

Tory defends extra $900M for Scarborough subway extension

Scarborough subway price tag hits $3.16B

Four new GO stations to serve SmartTrack

Four new GO stations push SmartTrack plans forward

And now there’s more controversy over public transit in Scarborough. In an opinion piece in theToronto Star, which was published on Monday, the mayor appears to link a large immigrant population in Scarborough to the outcry over the increased cost.

Tory wrote “many of the subway’s loudest critics do not live or work in Scarborough, where more than half the population is born outside of Canada. When they say this is too much to spend on a subway, the inference seems to be that it’s too much to spend on this part of the city.”

Coun. Josh Mattlow responded to the opinion piece tweeting: “Sad, desperate and shameful. I had hoped for much more from a mayor who preached civility.”

The mayor’s office responded on Tuesday, saying “the mayor’s editorial was not meant to be divisive but to point out an inequity in our transit system that needs to be addressed.”

“While reaction to transit debates in this city is strong it’s encouraging to know that we all care deeply about how we build our city,” spokesperson Amanda Galbraith said in an emailed statement to CityNews.

“The bottom line is Scarborough is underserved by transit. Dramatically so compared to the rest of the city. Many of the people who live in Scarborough are newcomers to our city, and they need opportunities for mobility on transit.”


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