John Tory as mayor and SmartTrack transit, here we come

Toronto voted for John Tory and SmartTrack transit on Oct. 27, as Tory won more than 40 per cent of the vote with a campaign based on his plan for an $8-billion mostly surface subway that hinges on investments from the provincial and federal governments. Transit was a pivotal election, and Torontonians will be counting on Tory to deliver when he takes over as mayor on Dec. 1.Transit is not just a critical matter for commuters. For homeowners and those still looking to buy a home or condo, proximity to transit is becoming more important than ever. Access to transit is an increasingly critical determining factor for buyers. It matters for lifestyle and comfort while you live there, and it’s one of the most important influences on property values.Here’s a summary of where the three leading candidates for mayor – Tory, Doug Ford and Olivia Chow – stood on transit.John Tory

Rob Ford

John Tory’s SmartTrack line

  • Proposes the SmartTrack line, a Regional Express Rail (RER) surface subway
  • SmartTrack will provide service from the Airport Corporate Centre in the west, southeast to Union Station and northeast to Markham in the east
  • SmartTrack will have 22 new station stops and five interchanges with the TTC rapid transit network
  • The Line will be built in seven years, starting service in 2021
  • Service will be in new electric multiple unit vehicles (EMUs). No diesel locomotives will be used.
  • Total cost of SmartTrack, $8 billion. The city’s one-third share will be paid for using Tax Increment Financing (TIF)
  • TIF allows the City to dedicate a portion of tax revenue from development along the SmartTrack line and stations to fund construction. Remaining funding would come from the provincial and federal governments

Doug Ford

  • Has presented a plan to build 32 kilometres of new subway lines along key corridors
  • Top priorities are building the Sheppard Line, the Yonge Relief Line and the Finch Line, and ensuring the Eglinton Crosstown is built underground
  • Says these key connections in the subway system will build a foundation that can be expanded in the future to create a truly integrated subway system connecting one end of Toronto to the other
  • The Toronto Subway Expansion Plan will cost approximately $9 billion
  • Funding will come through partnerships with other levels of government, development charges, revenue from Build Toronto, utilizing public-private partnerships, the sale of select assets along proposed transit corridors, the sale of “air rights” above new subways stations, Tax Increment Financing, the use of future assessment growth and the reallocation of funding from proposed LRT lines

Olivia Chow

Rob Ford

Olivia Chow’s proposed transit plan

  • “Get people moving now,” by investing in buses now
  • Estimates 60 per cent of TTC rides involve a bus, and says the only way to expand transit now is by investing $15 million a year in buses – now
  • Also favours ordering new buses and building a new bus storage facility
  • This $184-million investment to be funded by a progressive land transfer tax
  • Wants to move ahead with approved and funded ready to go light-rail transit projects, on Finch and Sheppard East
  • Supports a subway relief line. Plan includes $200 million to conduct relief line engineering studies, also paid for by a progressive land transfer tax

Related reading:Rob Ford reveals new subway planProximity to infrastructure more important than ever


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