Thursday , June 17 2021

TTM subway negotiation moves at a faster pace

Toronto and the provincial government have reached a joint agreement on the terms of reference for their transit talks, putting Prime Minister Doug Ford's proposal to put the subway fast.

Ontario's transport minister Jeff Jurek said on Tuesday that the province is acting now because previous governments have failed to take bold actions for the transitional file.
"This is a promise that Prime Minister has made during the subway campaign – we are doing this promise," Yurek said. "I think the process is going well."

The province wants to have a structure built to allow for better funding and quicker metro construction and to ensure that the system is integrated with other regional modes of transport including the GO network, he said.

"The GTHA transit systems are no longer limited by the municipal boundaries. People live and work in different municipalities and we have to get to work or go to work or play as fast as possible, "Yurek said. "And the current system does not work."

According to Toronto Province, the review of the review of transit responsibilities, the first option to be considered is the embarkation model in which the province takes ownership and responsibility for the metro, the construction and maintenance of new and existing lines while the city controls current TTC operations and labor relations.

Another possible way is the transfer of ownership of the assets, such as the provincial government, which takes ownership of the new transit extension.

There may also be a redirection of responsibilities even though assets will not be transferred.

The mandate also sets out the aims of these discussions in cities – accelerated transit expansion, GTA transit integration, good repairs and modernization of existing subways, and long-term predictable transit financing model.

Both sides agreed to "transparency" between the two countries, but agreed to keep their conversations confidential.

Toronto Mayor John Torrey said he believes the mandate clearly defines the city's priorities, including his position that the subway must remain with the TTC.

In an online post, open-minded councilor Josh Matlouw said he did not believe that the city should be drawn into a process that would help Ford launch the Toronto subway system, land value and potential air rights.

"I support the progress towards improving the existing system, dealing with overcrowding, repairs and building evidence-based transit to connect our city and region," he said.

Toronto's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Jan De Silva, said the city does not have fiscal resources to develop transit as needed for the entire region, and this latest deal on transferring negotiations has the potential to provide a win-win for the city and the province .

"If the city can reach an agreement that is in the interest of the city, the province has the capacity to finance and accelerate the development of this transit network plan," she said.

The province intends to fully develop the economic and housing potential for expanding transit, Yurek said.

"We will take advantage of the air rights of new stations built with the private sector to build more homes, build more retail space, fulfill the whole city … as other jurisdictions in North America and the world that Toronto has not succeeded in doing so in the past, "Yurek said.

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