Three stop Scarborough Subway Extension an Expensive Boondoggle

Hello City Councillors and Mayor:

I am sharing my response to a comment that Councillor Berardinetti made in her regular report to her constituents.

Councillor Berardinetti wrote: “Added to this was a special dedicated tax levy of .5% to cover the City’s funding commitment for the construction of our Scarborough Subway.  This will be paid by all residents of the City.  My colleagues and I from Scarborough were able to protect our Scarborough Subway despite an attempt by a downtown Councillor to effectively halt the project.”

You are commenting on Josh Matlow’s motion to stop the ‘three stop’ Scarborough subway extension. Councillor Matlow’s opposition as well as my own Councillor’s – Ward 31 Janet Davis’ is the logical decision to make. Your criticism of Mr. Matlow being a ‘downtown Councillor’ is disingenuous and insulting to a Councillor who is concerned for the whole City, not just his ward.

The whole Scarborough subway extension was divisive and politically motivated from the start and was designed to pit one Toronto region against others. This is not how GTA and GTHA transit should have been designed; planning should look at and be based on the needs of the entire region, not stoop to attempts to get votes in Scarborough. Toronto taxpayers will be saddled with a $1 billion debt for 30 years for this unnecessary boondoggle which does not meet ridership criteria or benefit most Scarborough residents.

What suburbs like Scarborough and Etobicoke desperately need is the ‘Downtown Relief Line’ which will do more to alleviate congestion at the present downtown interchanges than any other plan. Also a surface rail line already exists – the Go/Via line that runs through south Scarborough. City Councillors should be lobbying the Federal government to convert that line into a City transit line – which already has close, walkable connections to the present subway system at places like Main Street Station (near the Main st. GO station). This is what you should be lobbying for if you are really about serving your Scarborough constituents as well as serving the entire City of Toronto.

The three stop Scarborough subway extension is an expensive boondoggle that does not serve Scarborough residents well and places a 30 year financial burden upon the City’s ability to construct and maintain other City infrastructure in the face of more severe weather, as we have seen in the July flood and the January ice-storm. The Scarborough subway extension in its present form should be cancelled and you should be presenting the logic that supports that.

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About Murray Lumley

Board member of Conscience Canada; Christian Peacemaker Teams Reservist; retired teacher; grandfather
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