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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 [Sarahthomson.ca]

  • Andrew

    Finally a mayor who acts and thinks like a mayor. my vote goes to Thomson.

  • Ted C.

    Brava to her! Experts keep saying that we need road tolls to control congestion and fund much-needed transit infrastructure, but no politician so far has been willing to face it. This woman has more balls than any other candidate in the election.

  • Robert Hewitt

    This should have been done long ago. We need a mayor that leads. If people don’t like to pay to drive into the city, then stay home. This will benefit everyone, and at a nominal cost, compared to cities like London UK.

  • Shafted

    Sarah Thomson!. Too bad she and Women’s Post still owe me and other former employees money. Why doesn’t she ever mention that she’s actually from Hamilton. How sketchy.

  • Darren

    Shafted, I’d rather have her as mayor even if she lived in Hamilton. This is now her home. We’re pandering to suburbanites everyday who think TO is only good enough to work in but not live in

  • Darren

    Here is great commentary from a professor who agrees with her. He then goes on to say that the newer stations in the TTC are poorly designed and it desribes the extension into Vaughan as being; “The $2.6 billion being spent on extending the Spadina subway line could be almost as wasteful, chiefly because there is no plan for high-density redevelopment at its stations to provide ridership sufficient to justify the extension.”

    http://www.thestar.com/opinion/article/781418–reassess-transit-city-it-has-too-many-flaws

  • jerry derich

    SARAH THOMSON A MAYORAL CANDIDATE NEEDS YOUR ATTENTION.

    How can you make the Mayoral candidates debate Sarah Thomson’s idea of a city-wide subway system?

    Sarah Thomson wants the city of Toronto to build a city-wide subway system. The present day politicians have so far shown that they have no idea how to achieve the building of a city-wide subway system.
    Rocco Rossi may not embrace Sarah Thomson idea of a city-wide subway system, so he chooses to distract the voters by dwelling on the suggested $5.00 toll to pay for the city-wide subway system.

    The funding issue for subway systems requires a person who has the ability and courage to deal directly with the funding for the subway development. Sarah Thomson put the idea of a city-wide subway system on the table. Now is the time for the politicians to tackle the problem.
    Rocco Rossi suggests you have to wait to get our fiscal house in order. If we wait until our fiscal house is in order, Toronto’s transportation system will continue to stagnate for another 30 years.

    The Federal Government flooded Toronto with immigrants to stimulate the economy. That in turn created a major transportation problem. The rapidly expanding population created great wealth but the wealth was not used in the development of a city-wide subway system. The Federal, Provincial and City government have reaped billons of dollars in taxes from an expanding work force. Only shortfall amounts of the money have been directed into subway systems.
    Other recipients have also reaped great wealth from the expanded work force. We need them to come forward in the promotion and funding for a city-wide subway system.

    FORGET THE CAR TOLLS! Redirect the billons of dollars from gasoline tax into roads, bridges and subway systems.

    I think the Toronto politicians have so far shown they have no idea of how to deal with the funding of an expanding subway system. Their solution so far has been to distract the voters by focusing on minor problems like bicycle lanes, Cadillac garbage systems, plastic bags, etc.

    Are you truly concerned about pollution and want people to get out of their cars? If so, you have to create a city-wide subway system along with a convenient means for people to access public transport from their homes. The answer is massive parking lots located adjacent to the subway stations & bus stops, with low cost parking fees.

    Wishful fiddling with the infrastructure will not solve the problem. You have to spend money.

  • Incompetence

    I’m not sure why people think it’s so incredible that she’s running for Mayor, except that she is too ambitious, and seemingly incompetent. How can people trust someone like Ms Thomson to run a city when she didn’t remember the results of the 1997 election for a seat on Hamilton’s City Council: http://www.torontolife.com/daily/informer/mayor-may-not/2010/03/18/sarah-thomsons-slight-discrepancy/

    She claims she didn’t remember the exact figure, and as per her apology statement, she just didn’t bother checking the facts. Given that this was a major component of her election campaign until she was busted, it’s either dishonest (which she denies) or just plain incompetence (which she in fact admits by stating she did not remember correctly and didn’t check the facts).

    As a prospective Mayor of a great city like ours, you would focus on making your campaign as flawless as possible; this oversight shows that Ms Thomson’s business experience has not taught her anything about taking care of the fine details.

  • jerry derich

    Subways

    To set-up Road Tolls to pay for subway development would be expensive !
    We already have Road Tolls in the form of Gasoline Tax.
    Rededicate the Gas Tax to road, bridge and subway construction.
    Or increase the Gas tax instead of road Tolls.

  • joe

    Fk you ak we have enough taxes and fees , what we all need to do , is sit at home do nothing ,fk the city over , if we all stay home just for 1 week you can imagin the damage this will cause , they will be forced to drop taxes and prices to get us out spending , we need to fk them all

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