Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC) Light Rail Plan has been billed by CityNews as having the capacity to join every part of Toronto through a network of fast transportation rail routes. It has been reported that the project’s corridors are to run from Toronto’s waterfront to the airfield, passing through major hubs like Sheppard, Don Mills, Eglinton Crosstown, Jane, Etobicoke-Finch West, Scarborough Malvern, and Waterfront West.
Upon completion in 2021, the project is envisaged to be among the largest in the history of TTC, having one hundred and twenty- kilometer long tracks costing in excess of $6 billion. Construction is projected to take fifteen years owing to logistical and financial factors. Two hundred and forty light rail vehicles, which will run on 7 lines, are to be purchased. An estimated 175 million riders are expected to use this rails system annually (Matti, 2007, p. 343). TTC’s administration has also stated that come 2021, Toronto residents without cars will access any part of the city thanks to the aggressive plan.
The aggressive scheme, based upon Toronto Mayor’s re-election pledges, is envisaged to produce up to one hundred and twenty kilometers of novel light rails come 2021, running on special lines separate from traffic. The focus comprises of some $2. 2 billion, partially underground course next to Elglinton Avenue, running from Kingston Road to Pearson Airport. Glenn De Baeremaeker , TTC commissioner, was quoted as terming the scheme as massive, bold and good-looking. Joe Mihevic, another TTC commissioner, termed the scheme as heralding a revolution in Toronto’s public transportation (http://www.
citynews. ca/news/news_8808. aspx). TTC’s expensive, complete, and elaborate plan will include an enormous web-like system consisting of airborne Light Rail Transit vehicles (LRTs), mainly operating in right-or-way (ROW)tracks , to link Toronto’s far-flung areas to existent subway courses. Freshdaily has noted that TTC’s plan appears theoretically effective bearing in mind the problems of climate change and pollution, segregation of societies plus the airfield encircling the business district core, as well as the deteriorating traffic issues (Jorrold, 2007).
TTC has proposed 7 corridors including: Don Mills – Steeples Avenue to Bloor-Danforth Subway; Etobicoke-Finch West – Yonge Street to Highway 17; Eglinton Crosstown –Kennedy Station to Pearson Airport; Jane –Jane Station to Steeples West Station; Sheppard East – Don Mills Station to Morningside Avenue; Scarborough – Kennedy Station to Malvern/Morningside; and Waterfront West – Union Station/Exhibition to Long Brach. The scheme heavily depends on financing from every government level.
TTC chairman, Adam Giambrone, says that the novel light rail vehicles shall be more elongated compared to existing streetcars; they as well will have more contemporary looks. He added that Toronto anticipates utilizing a fraction of the $2 billion for national transit. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister, stated that approximately $1 billion has been dedicated for Greater Toronto Area’s public transportation. This includes the $2. 1 billion national proportion plan to lengthen Spadina subway of Toronto to New York.
Financing CTV quoted David miller, Toronto mayor, as saying that fats transit for every Toronto neighborhood is required to ensure that the city succeeds. He added that Toronto ought to satisfy the requirements of its ever-increasing population. It should be noted that Toronto does not have solid fiscal dollars dedicated for the Light Rail Plan, however, administrators are as an alternative depending on financial backup from federal and provincial governments. Aspects of the Light Rail Plan were released only 3 days ahead of the release of the budget by the central government (Duke, Torres, 2005, p. 1247).
Such budget has been touted as setting aside fresh funds for the Light Rail Plan. The real test for TTC is convincing Ottawa and Queen’s Park to allocate approximately $400 million annually for the project. Clearly, Toronto transit requires endorsement by every government organ. It took 4 years for the plans for the Toronto subway to be approved and funded by the government. TTC’s grand project could just remain a mere plan bearing in mind that Jim Flaherty, Finance Minister has denied ever having heard of such a plan and insisted that funding fro such a plan ahs not been factored for in the budget (Jim, Bob, 2002, p.
908). Several Toronto councilors, such as Denzil-Minnan-Wong, are also irked by the absence of specifics regarding the funding. They insist that TTC should provide details regarding the source of the funds; otherwise, the project remains unreal. The argument is that such funds were not even factored in Toronto’s 5-year investment plan. However, construction of light rails is costly, costing approximately $30 million per kilometer. Nevertheless, such still remains less costly option compared to lengthening subway routes, which cost $250 – $350 million for every kilometer.
Such is the rationale behind Toronto’s focus on above-ground alternatives. This is regarded as the most effective mode of expanding TTC infrastructure. Toronto has outgrown TTC and hence the plan has the capacity to put Toronto back to the days when it was a tiny city with adequate fast transit networks (http://www. ctv. ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20070316/ttc_announcement_070316? s_name=&no_ads=). A number of commuters approve this novel transport scheme. Some argue that it is environmental friendly, is more affordable, and avoids gridlocks.
The Light Rail Plan has also been endorsed because it opens up once inaccessible areas. It has also been cited as being faster than road transport especially in winter. However, several commuters are not as enthusiastic about the Light Rail Plan. They wonder why Toronto is not emphasizing the construction of additional subway structures instead. Giambrone has responded that although Toronto still has plans for future subway structures, such cost as much as ten times the cost of Light Rail Transport (Confessore, 2009).
He adds that subways are more costly as opposed to light rail which as well permits the financing of street enhancement programs. Giambrone stated that incase Torontonians require subway structures as opposed to light rail, then ridership has to be first built until Toronto reaches a point where subway lines are justifiable. Administrators are convinced that the fast transportation system will assist minimize pollution and traffic clogging. Miller argues that climate change can be better battled within cities. Envor9nmentalists have demonstrated their endorsement of the Light Rail Plan (Heisz, Grant, 2004, p. 145).
Franz Hartman, a Toronto Environmental Alliance official, contends that impleme4ntion of the scheme will mean reduced congestion and reduced vehicles on Toronto roads since individuals will use the Light Rail Plan more. This will translate into reduced smog and hence Toronto may begin battling global warming. Miller wishes that the construction begins before the end of his tenure in 2010. Special streetcar tracks, currently operational on Spadina Avenue business district and being constructed along St. Clair Avenue, aroused controversy among several residents and business enterprises on St.
Clair Avenue. A local association pointed to parking and traffic issues and sued the city. However, TTC administrators have consistently posited that public transportation can beast be made efficient by eliminating traffic congestion thus permitting the reliable and frequent functioning of streetcars (Kemper, et al, 2007, p. 377). . References CityNews. (March 16th 2007). TTC unveils ambitious, expensive light rail plan. Retrieved July 6th 2009, from http://www. citynews. ca/news/news_8808. aspx Jerrold. (March 17th 2007). TTC unveils its plan for the future LRTs.