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Light rail’s reckoning

TTC chief general manager Gary Webster will meet with mayor-elect Rob Ford’s team today.

TTC chief general manager Gary Webster will meet with mayor-elect Rob Ford’s team today.

Transit officials would not confirmthat the meeting is about the cancellation of the Transit City light-rail lines, though some downtown councillors fear that’s the only item on the agenda.

Ford wants a subway on Sheppard Ave., where the first Transit City light rail line is already underway. He has said that light rail aggravates traffic congestion.

The problem is that a subway on Sheppard would likely eat all the Transit City money the province has committed to light rail on Eglinton Ave.

Senior government officials confided that any additional costs from breaking existing contracts would have to come from the existing $3.1 billion in funding that has been committed to Toronto.

In an earlier meeting, Ford’s transition team asked TTC staff what it would take to stop work on the light-rail lines being funded by Metrolinx on Eglinton, the Scarborough RT route and Finch.

Because Metrolinx and the federal government are funding the Sheppard line, outgoing transit commissioners have maintained that Ford doesn’t have the authority to cancel the work.

Voters enticed by Ford’s promise of a subway should remember other cancelled transit projects, said one city councillor, including the Eglinton subway, for which a hole was dug only to be filled by the Mike Harris government.

 
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