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Advise Subway Start In Spite of Refusal Of Help From Ottawa

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An immediate start on the Bloor-Danforth subway line without Provincial-Federal Government aid was recommended to Metropolitan Council yesterday by Metropolitan Executive Committee.

The executive voted, 4-3, to proceed with the $189,600,000 project after Metro Chairman Gardiner disclosed the contents of a telegram from Finance Minister Fleming which eliminated any hope of federal aid.

Mr. Fleming said the Government cannot hold out any hope of a federal contribution to the cost of the subway which is clearly a municipal project. He said it is impossible for the Federal Government to make a direct contribution to the cost of individual municipal projects.

The executive committee agreed the subway should be undertaken without awaiting any commitment from the province to assist in building the nine-mile east-west route.

“We are not likely to obtain any commitment from Premier Frost on subway aid”, said Mr. Gardiner. He refused to consider a meeting with the premier on the subway issue.

“I will not put Mr. Frost on the spot”, he declared.

Mr. Gardiner indicated that more favorable circumstances for provincial aid to Metro in one form or another may result following provincial tax-sharing negotiations with the Federal Government.

“Whether from the front or back door, Mr. Frost will always help Metro. He will not neglect us”, he told the committee.

Mr. Gardiner suggested Metro representatives would be derelict in their duty if they did not proceed with subway construction as soon as possible.

TTC Chairman Lamport said last night the commission is prepared to make an immediate $8,000,000 outlay on subway construction and equipment.

The funds would be used to prepare portions of the route for the tunnel construction on the University Ave. section, move existing municipal services out of the way and for purchase of new subway cars.

On the basis of estimates given to the Federal Government in asking for a 20 per cent grant for the subway, Metro’s share of the cost is $102,276,500 and the TTC’s $87,323,500 — a 55-45 [sic] ratio.

The executive committee has proposed that council endorse the 10-year construction staging program for the subway prepared by the TTC and consultant Norman Wilson.

This would provide for subway construction to begin from the Yonge St. terminal at Union Station, west on Front St. and north on University Ave. to Bloor St. Estimated cost: $40,000,000. Completion date of this section, January, 1962.

“I am old fashioned enough to believe if you want a thing done you have to do it yourself”, observed Controller Newman who, with Mayor Phillips and Controller Brand, supported an immediate start.

Mr. Brand said he was disgusted with the reply received from Mr. Fleming. Mr. Brand said Metro asked for federal aid on April 21 and had to wait two months for a no answer.

The controller suggested that a government interested in alleviating unemployment through introduction of public works should have given more serious attention to the Metro request.

Mr. Gardiner revealed that subway aid negotiations with Mr. Fleming involved several long-distance telephone calls and confidential letters.

Reeve Singer, North York[,] said he has not been assured that the subway will solve Metro transit problems. He predicted the school building program will suffer if Metro is forced to finance the subway on its own.

The ability of the TTC to meet its 45 per cent share of the subway cost was questioned by Reeve Curtis of Long Branch. The reeve claimed Metro will eventually carry the commission’s share. Reeve Tonks, York Township advocated study of alternatives to subway construction.