By Brenda Thompson, Founder and Chair of STA

A group of us from Scarborough Transit Action spoke at the #ExecComm meeting on June 28th. Our demand for an LRT network instead of the One Stop Extension triggered an overwhelmingly negative response from Mayor Tory and his allies. The most absurd being Councillor De Baeremaeker’s claim that any opposition to this project constituted a “wall of hate” toward Scarborough.

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From left to right: Karen, Moya and Shaun speaking on behalf of Scarborough Transit Action

Here are a few more of the false arguments they used to justify spending $3.2 billion on another 6 km of tunnel and a single station at Scarborough Town Centre:

Changing this plan and going back to the LRT will result in wasted funds.

The money sunk into the subway ($19 million) is far less than that which was thrown away when council ripped up the LRT plans ($75-85 million). If sunk costs were the main concern, the LRT leg near Centennial College Progress campus would be under construction right now.

Federal and provincial governments will not fund the LRT.

The city’s master agreement with the province for provincially funded and operated LRTs, including the 7-Stop Scarborough and Sheppard line, still stands.

If the One Stop is canceled, Scarborough might get nothing at all.

Actually, the exact opposite is true. If we do build the One Stop there will be no funding left for the 17-Stop Crosstown East LRT, and according to Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat, the provincially funded Sheppard LRT “is in limbo”. However, there would be money left over if we built the 7-Stop Scarborough LRT to Malvern Town Centre. The Scarborough RT has to be replaced. Unless the majority on council suddenly decide TTC service to Scarborough Town Centre will consist solely of buses, something will need to be built.

There is no room on the track for an LRT.

Not true. With options A and B of GO Regional Express Rail (RER) there would have been need for more track. Those were eliminated and the remaining options C and D require only two tracks. Sources “out there” keep citing Metrolinx confirmation that there is enough track for LRT and RER.

Cancelling the One Stop will happen over Scarborough Centre MPP, Brad Duguid’s dead body.

Here we enter the bizarre and contradictory world of shifting provincial and municipal responsibilities, when it is politically expedient. If Brad Duguid has the last word on this issue, what do we need a Mayor and council for?

Delays escalate costs.

Yes indeed, $1.48 billion in 2010 dollars is worth much less in 2016. If this is such a compelling argument now, why wasn’t it back in 2013, when council decided to replace a 7-Stop LRT with a more expensive subway, serving fewer local riders?

“The Scarborough LRT will cost $3B”, TTC CEO, Andy Byford.

Really Andy? Using that logic the Scarborough Subway Extension will cost $6 billion by the time it is finished. But even if it did cost $3 billion, at least the 7-Stop Scarborough LRT would serve two neighbourhood improvement areas, with better access to Scarborough Town Centre, and additional stops at Centennial College Progress campus, Sheppard East and Malvern Town Centre.

This blatant attempt to steamroll the public into backing down on a LRT network is actually cause for celebration.  After a three year hiatus, the 7-Stop Scarborough LRT is back on the table for discussion.

In spite of the 13 – 1 vote (Councillor Ainslie voted against) in favour of the One Stop and despite the fact that Mayor Tory and his executive used scare mongering and guilt tripping to convince us there is no turning back – we know better.

Council will vote on the 7-Stop LRT vs the One Stop Scarborough Subway Extension on Tuesday, July 12th. You can send them a message here.

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