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Prime Minister Stephen Harper, speaking, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Toronto mayor Rob Ford, and Mark McQueen, chairman of the Toronto Port Authority were together at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport on March 9, 2012 for a ground breaking and announcement of a project to build a pedestrian tunnel to the island airport. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail/Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, speaking, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, Toronto mayor Rob Ford, and Mark McQueen, chairman of the Toronto Port Authority were together at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport on March 9, 2012 for a ground breaking and announcement of a project to build a pedestrian tunnel to the island airport. (Peter Power/The Globe and Mail/Peter Power/The Globe and Mail)

Harper weighs in on Toronto transit debate: He prefers subways Add to ...

Toronto’s mayor always says “people want subways” – and as it turns out, one of those people is Stephen Harper.

Although he isn’t committing any new money to public transit in Toronto, the prime minister said Friday that, if forced to choose, he’d rather travel by subway than above-ground light-rail.

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“I prefer when I want to use public transit to go underground, unimpeded ... and when I want to use my car I prefer not to be running in to LRTs and streetcars,” Mr. Harper said after a ground-breaking ceremony for a pedestrian tunnel connecting Toronto’s island airport to the mainland.

Mr. Harper joked that the RCMP prefer him not to take public transit at all. He made it clear that Toronto must make its own decision about how best to spend existing senior government funding committed to public transit.

City council is poised to vote March 21 on whether to extend the Sheppard line above or below ground.

Despite losing control of the Toronto Transit Commission to pro-LRT councillors this week, Mayor Rob Ford said Friday that he'd keep pushing for subway expansion, even if the city could only build a stop or two with available cash.

"We got a billion dollars. We can put a shovel in the ground tomorrow if we wanted to," he said. "You build it and they'll come, as they say."

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