Looming cuts to transit raising questions
The province isn’t making any threats — yet.
But neither cabinet ministers nor TTC observers have dismissed the idea of a Queen’s Park takeover of the country’s largest transit system.
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If Ontario’s new Greater Toronto Transit Authority can take over GO Transit and oversee the creation of a single-fare system across eight regional transit agencies, why couldn’t it also integrate the TTC?
Asked Friday whether the province would consider it, Finance Minister Greg Sorbara said, “One couldn’t make that kind of decision based on a week in politics.”
However, he added, “Down the road, we might look at a different way of approaching the management of heavy rail in this city. There’s two heavy rail operators in the province: There’s GO Transit and there’s the TTC. Is there a better way to combine that? I’m not sure, but I think those are the things that we have to look at dispassionately rather than simply make announcements that make everyone nervous.”
Sorbara emphasized the province’s proposal to spend $17.5 billion on a GTA transit expansion, and the already funded subway extension to York Region will still go ahead.
Meanwhile, TTC commissioners were wondering whether there’s any point to building new subway stations and a big streetcar network when there’s no money to hire operators. Within hours of Sorbara’s remarks, they had decided to study the impact of pulling out of the Spadina expansion plan.
The TTC’s response led to this warning from TTC patron David Fisher: “The day is coming when this system is going to be taken away from the city of Toronto.”
Riding to the rescue