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Doug Ford speaks at a press conference in Etobicoke on Sept. 12, 2014.

FRED LUM/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

When Doug Ford subbed in for his ailing brother, he adopted his platform and, it seems, his obsessions with subways.

Before leaving the mayoral race last month, Rob Ford had promised to push for 32 kilometres of underground transit, including a downtown relief line (DRL), and said he would kill or bury light rail lines now planned to run on the surface.

The Globe was unable to arrange an interview or technical briefing with the Doug Ford campaign, but his public comments show he is running on almost the same transit platform. On Thursday he unveiled a transit plan that matched his brother's, with one key change: he made the DRL his first priority.

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Overall, Doug Ford is promising to build the same 32 kilometres of underground transit at the same cost of $9-billion. But the proposal has a number of flaws.

Mr. Ford promised to replace planned light-rail lines on Sheppard and Finch with subways. And he would put underground the eastern portion of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, now expected to run on the surface. The looming problem here, though, is that those are all projects being done and paid for by the province. There's no guarantee Queen's Park would agree to change them. And Mr. Ford's assumption that any cost savings generated by changing provincial plans could be applied to his own priorities may be optimistic.

Another wrinkle is that the costing for about three-quarters of his proposed subways is much lower than normal estimates. The DRL is expected to cost about $580-million per kilometre, which is roughly in line with the projected cost of a Scarborough subway extension. But his Finch and Sheppard subways are budgeted much more cheaply, costing only about $240-million per kilometre each.

And how to pay for this work remains murky. Mr. Ford listed a whole slate of options he said could get subways built without relying on public funds. Some of them are things that failed in the last term of council, though, and the funds from others are allocated already to other priorities. And this week he criticized one on the list – tax increment financing, which Mr. Tory has chosen to pay for his plan, as something that doesn't work.

The three leading candidates for mayor have different, and controversial, visions, about how we'll get around. Here's where they stand on the most contentious points

SCARBOROUGHTOWN CENTRE LAIRD HUMBERCOLLEGE SCARBOROUGHTOWN CENTRE To Markham To Mississauga SHEPPARDMcCOWAN SHEPPARDMcCOWAN DON MILLS KENNEDY BLOOR-YONGE EGLINTON EGLINTONWEST EGLINTONWEST MOUNT DENNIS MOUNT DENNIS SHEPPARD-YONGE SPADINA PAPE DUNDASWEST KIPLING FINCH DOWNSVIEW ST. GEORGE QUEEN OSGOODE UNION VAUGHAN CENTRE FINCH WEST
15-min commuter rail line Heavy/light rail lines to be builtor under construction Heavy/light rail plans Heavy/ light lines underconstruction Planned GO electrification Heavy/light rail expansion Move ongoing light rail projectunderground Scarborough subway planned Existing heavy/light rail Heavy/light rail under construction GO lines
  • Doug Ford

    Ford would keep the proposed Scarborough extension. He cites it as an example of subway-building progress under his brother’s mayoralty.

  • John Tory

    Tory has ruled out changing plans in Scarborough, calling it a rare decision that brought together the three levels of government.

  • Olivia Chow

    Chow says she will kill the proposed subway extension and revert to the light rail plan which would be funded by the province.

  • Doug Ford

    Ford wants to kill the province’s plans for LRT here and re-direct the money toward subway lines.

  • John Tory

    Tory initially said that LRTs on these roads couldn’t be a priority for him. He has subsequently come out in favour.

  • Olivia Chow

    Chow supports the province’s plan to build light rail lines on the surface of Sheppard east and Finch west.

  • Doug Ford

    Ford said this week that the eastern portion of the downtown relief line, which the TTC lists as its top priority, will be the first subway he’d have built. His funding plan remains vague.

  • John Tory

    Tory has said that his so-called SmartTrack plan brings sooner relief than the DRL, a line on which he has offered mixed message. He said recently, though, that preliminary DRL work should occur. He would fund it through tax increment financing.

  • Olivia Chow

    Chow has pledged to begin initial work toward the eastern portion of the downtown relief line, which the TTC says is its top priority. She says part of it could be funded by cancelling the Scarborough subway extension.

  • Doug Ford

    The Eglinton LRT line is being built mostly underground. Ford claims, incorrectly, that his brother was responsible for burying it and he is furious that the line runs above-ground in the east end. He calls this a sign of Scarborough is being mistreated and is promising to tunnel that section as well.

  • John Tory

    Tory’s transportation platform is largely based around his rail plan but he has also committed to other noteworthy improvements. He has promised to increase the number of express bus routes, which have fewer stops but higher fares. And he has floated the possibility of water transportation, an idea that has not been fleshed out.

  • Olivia Chow

    The centrepiece of Chow’s plan is a promise to increase bus service by 10 per cent, arguing that the majority of riders spend at least part of their trip on a bus. Her proposal calls for keeping some buses longer than the TTC would like and budgets $184-million for new vehicles and a garage.

Illustrations: Trish McAlaster, Interactive development: Jeremy Agius
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