TTC Reality Toronto Style

I’m unmoved. The TTC and the city with great fanfare unveiled last week a huge plan to build 120 km of surface and underground LRT lines for a measly $6 billion (or $2.4 billion, depending on who you read). This sounds exactly like what James Bow was talking about on his blog and my recent post. You’d think with our spirited debate about subways vs. LRT, I’d have a strong opinion, a negative one perchance, on this plan. I have none. None, nada, nothing, zilch, no comment. Why? Because it’s reality Toronto style. This is the way reality Toronto style goes: Announce a huge plan. Show pretty pictures. Use big words like “strategy” and “stature” and “leader.” Give details. And then in small print, buried in the big words, happen to mention, as a by the way, we can’t afford it. Quickly whisper we haven’t actually had profitable discussions with the province or the Feds, so there’s no money, and then speaking forcefully say that we have a plan! Proclaiming “We simply have to make it happen,” as Mayor David Miller said in the Toronto Star isn’t going to move me to believe that anything will happen. When city politicians and planners unveil their plans without any money backing it, it’s even less believable than the endless waterfront promises. And the icing on this reality-Toronto-style cake is that they think by unveiling it last Friday that they will move Finance Minister Flaherty to include funds for their plan that doesn’t include downtown Toronto, the most congested and densely populated part of the city (did you notice?), into the Conservative budget being tabled today. Are they stupid? Or do they think we are, that we don’t know budgets are months in the planning and finalized at least a week before the unveiling to allow for the printers to print the gazillion copies needed for the politicians and media?

Totally fed up with yet another waste of my reading energy, I’m going to blog on something real, something that affects all of us Torontonians, something that needs to be fixed…once Flickr heals itself and I can upload the photo.

4 Comments so far

  1. cam (unregistered) on March 19th, 2007 @ 1:52 pm
  2. talk talk talk (unregistered) on March 19th, 2007 @ 1:56 pm

    Are you mocking me??? LOL!!

  3. swoononeone (unregistered) on March 19th, 2007 @ 8:44 pm

    Don’t think that unveiling a PLAN, especially before the budget was tabled is such a bad thing.

    1. It’s a plan. Not a mandate, not an after thought. Not something forced on Toronto. We could have seen a lot worse. Imagine spending taxpayers dollars without funding on something we don’t need or want or in the image of the Mayor (can anyone say Mel Lastman Square three times fast…). Sell the plan, then try to get the MONEY to do it. Kind of like a public business proposal.

    2. If there is a Federal election the Toronto City Council, who are with us for awhile anyways, want you to support their Transit vision and vote for Toronto MP’s who “UNDERSTAND” Toronto Transit concerns.

    3. Although budgets are planned years or months in advance policy can change quite quickly. Heck 3.6 Billion in announced spending since January of this year! The new Conservative budget even re-instates or slightly boosts Kyoto Environmental programs that were slashed ?! (for one Hybrid car tax rebates). Maybe Mr. Miller and company thought they might throw in some more transit slush cash on top of what they already committed to.

  4. talk talk talk (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 12:38 pm

    I feel like this is deja vu, to be honest. Unveiling a plan is not a bad thing per se; it’s just that this city does this all the time it seems, and nothing happens. How many years ago was it that they unveiled a plan for the waterfront, and Chretien, and Mel Lastman, and whoever was Premier unveiled a plan and a funding formula? Yet only this past year, have they started building a park. All the rest of the plans, the funding, has disappeared into history.

    When it comes to the TTC, we have had plans up the whazoo. We don’t need another one announced. What we need is action. We need them to fund one, one that will serve the city’s needs. Instead yesterday’s “brilliant, must-need” plan, is today’s shelved one, gathering dust while a new TTC Chair unveils a new plan.

    2. What does that mean? Who in Parliament, other than Jack Layton, understands or gives a damn about Toronto’s TTC needs? The only reason Harper is funding the subway is because it goes into Vaughan, where he figures he has a chance of winning a seat. Toronto is Canada’s butt of penis envy, and it’s anathema for any politician to be seen as supporting Toronto. Notice the budget had nothing in it to pay for the TTC’s other captial needs, nothing for maintenance, nothing for operating expenses. The conservatives didn’t need to see this recent TTC plan to know about those funding requirements. They do have a big amount set aside for infrastructure, but as I wrote before, we’re so far behind in capital projects, the funds required are now huge and would have to be specially earmarked. Plus it’s the province who has more say in what happens to the TTC. They used to pay a large portion, and no longer do. Frankly, I think the only way Toronto has a chance of getting the TTC back to its glory days is to vote provincially for those politicians who aren’t afraid of speaking openly about meeting Toronto’s needs. We have a better chance with John Tory than with either the Conservatives or Liberals in Ottawa.

    3. Harper is an excellent strategist. These spending announcements didn’t suddenly pop up in his head in Jan. 2007. He’s been planning this with Flaherty for months, timing them to coincide nicely with the budget and a possible election call. He’s already positioning himself to appear squeaky clean if the government falls by staging a couple of months of feel-good announcements, culminating in a budget that makes everyone happy (supposedly), that won’t bring his government down as no party will want to be seen as doing that over this particular budget — instead he’ll use another piece of legislation to maneuvre a fall — and will use this spending and this budget to get people onside when voting begins.

    Miller knows better than to think a plan unveiled while the budget’s being printed up is going to make a difference to the numbers. Nope, he had something else up his sleeve. He doesn’t like the Conservatives; this was his way of throwing Harper into a bad light, making the recent subway announcement appear like old news and having nothing to do with the budget. Rather disingenuous if you ask me.

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