Last week, we followed up our Lawrence East survey result release rally with a submission to the Auditor General of Ontario. Maybe you saw us in the news? Essentially, we find the lack of evidence based decision making in Scarborough transit decisions, fishy approval of the Lawrence East Go/Smart Track station and blatant ignoring of the Province’s own directives on climate change mitigation and use of business case analyses when planning the one-stop subway extension as grounds for an investigation by the AG’s office. Also, we’ve managed to breathe some life into the sterile transit debate by having the media highlight the experience of actual Scarborough transit riders, as opposed to the usual motorist voices who turn up to support the subway.
One might think that we can rest on our laurels and take a break but not us….not Scarborough Transit Action. Today, we will submit our comments to the TPAP (Transit Project Assessment Process). In a nutshell, this is a form of expedited environmental assessment process meant to move transit projects forward. While this seems like a good idea at the outset, with a project like the SSE, it is being used to circumvent debate and ensure that this destructive option moves ahead. Crucially, the TPAP for the SSE does not provide for an analysis of alternatives (such as the LRT option), nor does it give room for climate change mitigation to be included as a measurement of the project, nor does it properly give an assessment of the cost effectiveness of the project.
The Minister of the Environment and Climate Change can order a “bump up” from a TPAP to proper environmental assessment, which we hope will allow the flaws of the one-stop subway to be made more readily apparent to the policy community and wider public, especially those who do not currently ride transit and may not appreciate the true uselessness of the SSE for TTC passengers in Scarborough.
We have brought the concerns of transit riders to the highest halls of power over the past few weeks and if that’s not momentum, we don’t know what is. Stay tuned for more Scarborough Transit Action.