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Sarah Thomson’s cure for Toronto’s transit blues: subways, subways, subways (oh, and road tolls)

Cure what ails you, Toronto (Image: Kenny Louie)

Mayoral candidate Sarah Thomson believes she has one solution to most of Toronto’s problems: 58 kilometres of new subway lines. As she said this morning at her press conference (held, for some reason, at the Fox and Fiddle pub):

[A complete subway system] is our key to a strong and dynamic future, but it has fallen prey to budgetary impotence and political trepidation.

To compete on the world stage, we must inspire people to shake off their cynicism…to imagine a Toronto where the people are engaged in the process of government, to imagine a Toronto that leads innovation on the world stage, a Toronto where civic pride replaces apathy, where everyone can travel quickly and easily around the city, and where gridlock becomes a thing of the past.

In short, then, a renewed subway would be the equivalent of electing Barack Obama.

Though she stopped short of announcing unicorn paddocks and city-funded pixie colonies, she did propose a way to finance her plan: cancel the Transit City overground expansion, which she claims will only add to citywide congestion, and start charging tolls on the city’s two freeways:

From Monday to Friday, during peak hours, a reasonable fee will be charged to vehicles that use our overcrowded highways.

For example, we could generate between $400 million and $500 million per year on the Gardiner and Don Valley Parkway with a $5 toll, based on 2006 traffic counts.

It sounds like a great plan, but we wonder why she hasn’t considered a more realistic option: jet packs.

• Sarah Thomson’s subway expansion plan []