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Province should accept city's wishes
on Scarborough subway: MPP

Scarborough Centre MPP Duguid has sought subway expansion
in Scarborough

by Mike Adler

If Toronto Mayor Rob Ford wants to build subways through Scarborough the province must respect his wishes and give the city “as much support as we can,” Brad Duguid says.

Ontario’s energy minister, Duguid, a former Scarborough councillor and Scarborough Centre MPP, said he believes if the city wants to use money the province committed through its Metrolinx agency for a regional network of light-rail lines, the Liberal government will accept that.

After all, he said, Ford “just received a pretty resounding mandate” to make such a choice.

“It’s not my job to pass judgement on the mayor’s decision-making,” added the Scarborough Centre MPP, who has for years said he was calling on his Queen’s Park caucus to support a subway to Scarborough.

Ford, as he assumed his post this week, declared the Transit City plan backed by his predecessor David Miller to be “over,” and said he’d stick by a campaign pledge to extend the Sheppard subway line from Don Mills to Scarborough Town Centre and to convert the aging Scarborough Rapid Transit line into a subway.

The province and previous Toronto Council approved plans to re-make the RT as a light-rail line and had started preliminary work on a Sheppard East Light-Rail line from Don Mills to Conlins Road in Scarborough.

Duguid said Ford must know the province is financially strapped and can’t expect more money than what the Liberal government had already pledged.

Ford will also face costs of cancelling contracts and other challenges that come with cancelling any project already underway, he said.

Meanwhile, Chin Lee, a councillor whose ward contains part of the Sheppard East LRT route greeted Ford’s subway announcements with more skepticism than some of his council colleagues from Scarborough.

Lee said he’s been telling constituents they were getting a light-rail line because a subway would cost a lot more.

“Now, if Mayor Ford has a better alternative, let’s look at what it is,” he said on Thursday.

The Scarborough-Rouge River councillor said he wants Ford to explain possible transit choices to him, and Lee added he needs to hear from his constituents and lay out the facts for them.

People have to look at the realities of what an extended Sheppard subway would cost taxpayers - no matter which government provides the money - and how many are expected to ride it, he said.

Lee also questioned whether Scarborough residents would accept the high-rise development that follows a subway. “We cannot just say we will build it and people will come.”




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