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A subway solution for Toronto?

The architect of Ontario’s successful strategy to build public infrastructure with private money has a subway solution for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

The architect of Ontario’s successful strategy to build public infrastructure with private money has a subway solution for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

Liberal Don Valley East MPP David Caplan, the former provincial public infrastructure renewal minister, said Ford’s dream of new subway lines to replace the Transit City LRTs can be financed using the means developed by Premier Dalton McGuinty’s government.

“Subways are the way to go,” said Caplan, whose “alternative financing procurement” plan has led to the construction of 53 hospitals and other public buildings using private capital since 2003.

“There’s no reason why we couldn’t build two or three kilometres of new tunnels per year,” he said, noting he is hoping to meet with Ford’s officials in the new year to discuss his proposal.

Caplan said there are tens of billions of dollars in private capital waiting to be invested in major public projects.

To bankroll the kind of subway expansion Ford has envisioned, he said the city would need to create two separate entities, “Tunnel Company” to bore the tunnels, and “Station Company” to market the stations.

“The station itself ... would be attractive to the private sector if they operated the concessions — retail, restaurants, that stuff underneath — but then also on top with air rights,” said Caplan.

Suggesting the city work with Infrastructure Ontario, the provincial agency overseeing public-private partnership projects, Caplan said the tunnels could be paid for with gas tax revenues or some of $8.15 billion earmarked for Transit City light rail.

 
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