Toronto City Builders Oppose Subway Upload in Open Letter to Mayor Tory and Council

February 21, 2019

For Immediate Release

Toronto, ON—This morning, a group of prominent civic leaders and city builders released a public letter to Mayor John Tory and Toronto City Council members to urge them to defend Toronto’s local subway system against an upload by the provincial government, which they say will weaken the city. The signatories include former mayors of Toronto, including David Crombie, Barbara Hall, Art Eggleton and John Sewell, plus former TTC Chair Maria Augimeri and former Vice Chair Joe Mihevc.

The letter outlines concerns regarding the City’s loss of transit efficiency, planning power and future financial investment potential with the deal, and warns against following the disastrous precedents set in New York City and Melbourne. It says the Mayor and Council must demand greater transparency and justification from the Province, in addition to more time to conduct due diligence and public consultation.

As a signatory to the letter, CodeRedTO is posting the release and letter as a service in the interests of the best possible circulation of the letter. It is available online at www.coderedTO.com (HTML | PDF).

QUOTES

David Miller, Former Mayor of the City of Toronto: “Transportation and transit planning is at the heart of what a city does, and the proposed takeover by the province is simply wrong. The subway was predominantly paid for by the residents of Toronto and TTC riders. It is a crucial local service and it must remain a unified system.”

Richard Florida, Professor, University of Toronto: “The proposed subway upload is an attack on Toronto and threatens to prioritize suburban expansion over expanded ridership in one of North America’s most gridlocked cities. A great city like Toronto needs to be able to govern itself, not have one of its key assets taken over by a Province that is hostile to its needs.”

Patricia Wood, Professor, York University: “The province’s proposal is another blow to local democracy in Toronto. City Council made its position against the upload clear; the province is forging ahead regardless. And the purpose of the upload appears to be to prevent Toronto from having a say in determining its transit priorities. A city of 3 million people should not have so little say in its own development.”

Joe Mihevc, Former Toronto City Councillor, TTC Commissioner and Vice-Chair of TTC Board of Commissioners: “It is noteworthy that the TTC will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 1921. The TTC was originally formed precisely to integrate the various privately-owned, disparate systems into a single system that could deliver public transit in an equitable manner. It was a deep step in the building of our city and precisely the reason why the Ontario government’s plan to balkanize its structure and governance needs to be vigorously opposed.”

 

CONTACT

There is no central contact for media requests; please direct all media inquiries and interview requests to signatories directly.

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Did you know: The bus routes on Finch have over 85% of the ridership of the (much shorter) Sheppard Subway, and the bus routes on Eglinton already have over 140%! The lengths differ but the need is common in many areas of the city. We are decades behind and need better transit options for our residents now, not just small extensions that use up all the budget.

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