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TTC backs Olympic bid - again


Support reinstated after compromise reached on document

By Joseph Hall
Toronto Star Staff Reporter

The TTC’s support for the city’s Olympic bid is back on track.

The transit commission voted yesterday to reinstate its support for the city’s 2008 Summer Games bid by unanimously accepting two key compromises hammered out over the weekend with Mayor Mel Lastman’s office.

In the deal reached during a special meeting, commissioners agreed to add a tentative promise for at least 80 new subway cars and an improved Union Station platform to the city’s official bid document.

But the compromise doesn’t fully address concerns that caused TTC chief general manager Rick Ducharme to withdraw his endorsement of the bid’s transportation plan last Thursday, a move supported by system chair Howard Moscoe.

“It’s a compromise, but I still think we’re ahead of where we were last week,” Moscoe said after the vote.

Specifically, the deal promises that Union Station’s current single platform will be twinned before the Games get under way. In the new bid plan, the $58 million project would be paid for through city taxes, station development fees and by Union Station’s private sector developer.

As well, the bid plan now includes a proposal to add a minimum of 80 new “T1” subway cars from Thunder Bay’s Bombardier Inc. plant. This $180 million move would allow the system to avoid the use of 80 of the system’s most decrepit cars, which would otherwise be mothballed next year for use during the Games.

Ducharme said yesterday he was largely satisfied with the compromise wording in the plan. “I’m pleased with what we’ve been able to do. It brings forward some of our major concern.”

‘It’s a compromise, but I still think we’re ahead of where we were last week’

Last week, Ducharme withdrew his support because the city’s bid report failed to mention any guarantee of federal and provincial funding for the TTC’s Olympic needs. He said he found several changes had been made to the bid document after he had originally signed off on it Feb. 11.

Yesterday’s compromise mentions only “discussions” of federal and provincial support for the new subway cars and there is no mention of their participation in the purchase of additional buses.

Lastman told reporters yesterday there has never been any promise of federal or provincial funding for the TTC’s Olympic plan and that the statements last week by Ducharme and Moscoe have “hurt our Olympic bid.”

“There is no funding commitment in writing, there has been no funding commitment in writing and I don’t know what they’re talking about.”

TO-Bid chief operating officer Bob Richardson said yesterday, “we’re very pleased to have the full support of the TTC.”

City council votes on the bid next Tuesday.