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Monday, October 08, 2012


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“About 70% of the operating costs of the system are paid for through the fare box.”

As compared to NYC or Paris where funding is 50/50. With the 50% coming from government, a known and predictable quantity, so that capital expenditures can be made with confidence and so that maintenance can be made to avoid “the subway line is a lot noisier than it used to be. By 400%, in some cases. The TTC blames aging infrastructure, and agrees that something must be done.”

Pure Libertarianism won’t work. We need some government. But we don’t need 40% of GDP to be government. We don’t need government running the LCBO. We did need government to build transcontinental railroads to places not yet populated and ditto we need subway lines with a 100 year pay-back that isn’t suited to “business” investment decisions.

The TTC should be a subject where conservatives and progressives can agree that for environmental reasons and for productivity reasons (the efficient movement of the middle class labour force) that we need to increase the number of subway stops to match Singapore, HK and other world class cities.

The case for more subways based on the environment and productivity versus $10 billion for Samsung windmills should be easy.

The root cause of this “politicization of public transit” rests in the definition of political capital investments. Currently that investment definition means more money for government unions. Instead it should be tangible capital investment in underground tracks.

Rob Ford has taken on the government unions successfully. Unfortunately he has not built a team of support to take on the other levels of government required to support a massive capital infusion into public transit. Metrolinx was supposed to do that by The Big Move which was supposed to take decisions up the chain beyond the leftie pro government union base of Toronto downtown councillors who don’t want a subway for the GTHA because they never venture north of Bloor. But McGuinty let Metrolinx get sidetracked with his Samsung billions and scandals like eHealth and ORNGE and close to a billion to pay contractors to cancel (NIMBY) gas utilities.

Until we elect a Mayor, who can talk to pension funds with the help of Queens Park (we also need a pro transit Premier), we won’t get the subway system we need.

John Chittck

".....that is merely a symptom of a deeper problem: The politicization of public transit."

To that you can add: health care, education, culture, media, resource management, energy, insurance, mail delivery..........


"We did need government to build transcontinental railroads to places not yet populated and ditto we need subway lines with a 100 year pay-back that isn’t suited to “business” investment decisions."

No we didn't and don't. Subways are very questionable as a transit option and the rails lost money for years. It is immoral for government to extract money for these projects.

Toronto needs tolls not subways. And newer smarter mayor too.


It’s OK for government to spend money if we get value for our money …e.g., more rails instead of padded government union jobs on the TTC. But many progressive politicians don’t want capital investment in rails; they just want bigger union payrolls to help them get re-elected.

There is a role for government where we can’t have competition. Subways are the quintessential example of that; so are mega hydro projects like Niagara. But our current crop of politicians lack Adam Beck leadership.

Provide the option of more rails for the middle class and then Cy you can charge your toll like they do in “The City” of London. But don’t slam the middle class with tolls until you have adequate subways in place as an alternative to driving and paying tolls.

Subways work in London, Paris, NYC, HK, Singapore and Delhi. They easily pay for themselves if you factor in the cost of gridlock in terms of pollution, gas costs and person hours sitting in traffic instead of productively working.

Subways are an example of where progressives and conservatives should be able to agree to have government actually do something that's productive.

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