It’s no secret that Toronto has one of the worst transit systems in North America. The only way to travel from the Airport to Downtown Toronto is either by taxi or shuttle bus, a method of travel straight from the 1930s. However, the results of the upcoming June 12 election is bound to change that.
Toronto is now constructing more transit systems than any other city in North America and the construction will continue for many years down the road. The one problem is that completing a transit plan takes decades, but an election cycle swings around every couple of years. What this means is that any plan set in motion today is not likely to remain the same when it’s complete. There lies the challenge for any party. But nevertheless, they’ve come up with their own set of plans to get the ball rolling.
The Liberals’ plan for spending $29 billion dollars within the next 10 years would be to improve areas like the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton. It would build largely upon the Metrolinx proposal during the Big Plan that was unveiled at the failed provincial budget. They, like the Conservatives, want to see two-way GO train service, with rapid expansion to the Kitchener-Waterloo area while the North York boroughs would receive Rapid Bus Transit and Light Rail Transit, otherwise known as trams.
The NDP followed much of the same outline as the Liberals with one adjustment: they would invest an extra $1 billion dollars for the first four years, to help get major projects on their feet. Projects consisting of the Downtown Relief Line for Toronto, electrifying the Union-Pearson Express rail link, all-day two-way GO Trains to Kitchener-Waterloo, and year-round GO Trains to Niagara Falls.
The Progressive Conservatives look to take another route; an underground one. Over the next 25 years, they would invest up to $2 billion dollars to improve the transit system. But they wouldn’t have any LRTs on the road, instead, they would take them underground in the form of subways. They would focus on east-west express lines, and an expansion to North York and Scarborough. The PCs’ plan on bundling GO trains, subways, LRTs, and major highways under one entity of transportation, changing the way it will be managed.
The PCs would also call quits on the electrification of the GO transit lines, and use the money for other purposes, like expanding the service. However, experts say that the electrification of the GO lines would help GO trains stop, start, and travel faster, allowing them to travel closer to each other while making more frequent stops. This would be one of the only solutions that would help take some of the load off the TTC.
Each plan reflects the overall party’s campaign, with the Liberals staying with what they’ve already put into motion. The NDP following much of the Liberal’s budget and issues, finding it hard to set themselves apart. And lastly, the Conservatives banking on their plan to cut 100,000 jobs, will likely include GTA transit cuts. Regardless, with each party having their own transit plan in mind, the election will decide which plan will get the green light.
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