Transportation

Toronto May Get New Streetcars After All

By Ryan McGreal
Published June 18, 2009

The Toronto Star has an inconclusive but hopeful report on the fate of Toronto's infrastructure stimulus request to buy 204 new streetcars to replace its aged, rapidly failing fleet.

Just last week, Federal Transport Minister John Baird was caught on tape saying Toronto "should f--- off" and explaining that the city's request - a single project to buy the new streetcars, worth $1.2 billion - did not meet the federal government's criteria.

Under Toronto's tentative contact with Bombardier, the streetcars will be built in Thunder Bay and create 5,000 jobs.

Baird later apologized for the remark, adding "the best is yet to come" for Toronto's transit plan.

Now Toronto Mayor David Miller and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty have stated that they will make a public announcement in Thunder Bay this Friday. The expectation is that they will declare the purchase is going ahead.

The federal government will not confirm whether it will also be in attendance or whether it will approve the purchase plan or commit its share of the cost. According to the Building Canada Fund rules, if a project is approved it must be financed equally by the three levels of government.

The contract with Bombardier to manufacture the streetcars expires on June 27.

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted June 18, 2009 at 15:06:00

Hmmm, maybe my angry email wasn't the only one sent to Mr Baird? Nahhh I'm going to say it has something to do with that scary 'E' word (ELECTION).

Good on Thunder Bay!!

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By Toronto's failure to plan its transp (anonymous) | Posted June 19, 2009 at 10:21:06

For decades, Toronto's political scene has been an abject failure in acknowleging the reality that the future will impose.

As "tomorrow" has become "today", Toronto is strangling from the hundreds of short sighted and down right bad decisions its partisan political camps have imposed. Where once you could access the downtown core with reasonable effort, it now requires an hour an a half in a car many days. The public transit has deteriorated to the level where only those with no other option (and a lot of time to invest in nothing better) are left to struggle through over packed trains, subways, buses, and streetcars.

Thinking that strangling the patient to near death will somehow improve its "communities" in return has only seeded a growing and unsupportable situation. Premier McLiar and Mayor Mendacious seem to still believe in the old bully-boy tactics that have failed the most prosperous urban area of Canada from the beginning. The foul mouthed Baird said more in his explitive than just that. Toronto's politics still doesn't want to accept reality and learn how to get help for what it needs, not the sweets and lollys that it wants.

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted June 19, 2009 at 13:50:56

Ontario Government announces $416.3 million in funding for Toronto to buy new Bombardier streetcars. Strangely missing: any mention of federal matching funds.

http://www.news.ontario.ca/mto/en/2009/0...

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By Capitalist (anonymous) | Posted June 19, 2009 at 15:08:29

The feds are not matching the funds because they do not meet the stimulus requirements. Why is it that all the other municipalities in Canada can meet the requirements but Toronto can't? Are you Ryan suggesting that Toronto should get special treatment?

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By Ryan (registered) - website | Posted June 19, 2009 at 15:29:03

I'm suggesting that the stimulus requirements ought to make sense. A project that will generate over 5,000 direct jobs for Ontarians and produce a fixed capital investment that will last for decades is exactly the kind of thing cities ought to be doing with the stimulus money.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted June 19, 2009 at 18:20:04

re: Toronto's Failure comment

I'm sorry to hear it takes you 1.5 hrs by car to get downtown Toronto. Luckily, it takes me about 55 mins by GO Bus (QEW Express).

I also take the ttc subway which, unless you're on the Yonge Line (between Union & Yonge-Bloor) during rush hour, is actually a very comfortable and relaxing ride.

You speak of Partisanship being Toronto's problem, yet bash the Liberal Premier and NDP Mayor while stop short of berating Mr Baird who suggested they should "F**K OFF". So really, who has the partisan issues!? I think it might be youuuu ;)

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By LL (registered) - website | Posted June 20, 2009 at 00:16:42

All this higgling between the province and the municipality over taxes supplied mostly by us workers. And you all think I'm crazy for wanting a horizontal municipalism instead of a hierarchical state.

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