A Toronto environmental group says that a new mass transit plan being negotiated between the city and the provincial government would serve less than half as many commuters and provide less than half the track as an old plan discarded by Mayor Rob Ford.
The Toronto Environmental Alliance released maps showing that the Transit City planned favoured by former Mayor David Miller would have built 52 kilometres of light-rail transit at a cost of $8.7-billion. For the same money, TEA says, commuters would get 25 kilometres of light-rail under the plan being discussed between the Ford administration and the regional transit agency, Metrolinx.
TEA said Transit City would have served 460,000 Torontonians — those who live within 500 metres of the four light-rail lines planned under the project. The new plan would serve 217,000 people.
The group did not figure in Mr. Ford's plan to build an extension to the Sheppard subway line because money for that would not come from the provincial government. Mr. Ford has said he would go to the private sector to build the Sheppard line.
TEA transit expert Jamie Kirkpatrick said that the new plan would short change residents of Toronto's suburbs who would have been served by Transit City lines on Sheppard and Finch avenues, which seem destined to be cancelled.
He said that Mr. Ford's insistence on putting all mass transit underground would cost the city dearly. Putting all of the Eglinton light-rail line underground, instead of about half of it as planned under Transit City, would add billions in costs.
"To do this costs transit in Finch, it costs transit in Sheppard and it really doesn't make a lot of sense to us," Mr. Kirkpatrick said.