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article imageToronto transit riders canvass to 'keep rapid transit on track' Special

By Andrew Moran     Dec 4, 2010 in Politics
Toronto - Dozens of concerned Greater Toronto Area transit riders and activists gathered in uptown Toronto in order to demand that Mayor Rob Ford and new Toronto Transit Commission Chairwoman Karen Stintz to keep rapid transit on track.
Within only a few hours into his tenure, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford announced that “Transit City is over,” which is an $8.1 billion plan that was announced during the Mayor David Miller years.
The funds were allocated to the city of Toronto by the provincial and federal governments in order to build rapid transit lines along Eglinton Avenue from Keele Street to Laird Drive and other parts of Toronto. It was projected to finish in the year 2015.
Either revising or halting the work will cost the city of Toronto hundreds of millions of dollars. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty warned that those costs will be paid by Toronto.
On Saturday, dozens of people gathered at the Yonge and Eglinton Square to inform Toronto residents in the area and transit riders about the costs and dangers involved if Transit City is cancelled by Mayor Rob Ford.
“It’s not about Transit City; it’s not about Rob Ford’s plan. It’s that we have a solid plan on the books right now that is approved, funded and ready to go where shovels are already in the ground,” said organizer of the event, Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler. “We can’t start going backwards because we already have a deficit of good rapid transit in this city.”
Chaleff-Freudenthaler added that there are various aspects that Transit City got right but noted that it’s not about supporting one plan over the other: “It’s about good rapid transit that is already on the way and we need to keep it coming.”
Incoming TTC chairwoman and city councillor Karen Stintz – who stood with the former Toronto mayor in April and said she supported Transit City – did not speak with event organizers or comment on the canvassing.
However, Chaleff-Freudenthaler said that a lot of people have sent out e-mails to both the mayor and Stintz. He added that he has spoken with Ontario Minister of Transportation Kathleen Wynne “who is aware of what is going on.”
It was expected that some Toronto residents would support the mayor’s initiative in ending Transit City so Chaleff-Freudenthaler and his team of canvassers were ready to sit down with them to clear up some misinformation and to give them a “clear understanding as to what it is going to do” because some candidates during the mayoral election, says Chaleff-Freudenthaler, gave some transit plans that were “unrealistic.”
“I have great confidence in Torontonians to understand what’s on the line and to get involved,” said Chaleff-Freudenthaler. “We’re certainly aiding the process of engagement in this issue and I do have confidence council will see the light and do the right thing here in bringing Rapid Transit to Toronto.”
More about Transit city, Rob Ford, Rapid transit
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