Ford confirms plan to cut Transit City in first meeting as mayor
Web Staff, cp24.com
Published Wednesday, December 1, 2010 2:22PM EST
A new era began Wednesday at Toronto's City Hall as Rob Ford officially became the city's 64th mayor at midnight.
Ford's first order of business this morning was a meeting with TTC chief general manager Gary Webster, where he confirmed his plans to kill the city's provincially-funded light-rail plan, Transit City.
"Transit City is over," Ford says during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
Ford says his meeting with Webster, the transit commission's highest unelected official, was "fantastic."
Ford says he plans to build subways instead of streetcars, starting almost immediately, but has not explained where he will obtain the additional money for the project.
The city will also be on the hook for costs associated with breaking existing contracts, provincial transportation minister Kathleen Wynne told the Globe and Mail.
Ontario had planned to spend $8.15 billion over 10 years for the new light-rail lines. The province has already signed about $1.3 billion in contracts and spent about $130 million.
Work has already begun on the Sheppard East LRT line. Other lines were to be built on Finch Avenue West, across the city along Eglinton Avenue and along the path of the Scarborough RT -- modernizing that route.
Ford said during his election campaign that he wanted to eliminate streetcars in the city, but after his election backed down on the claim, saying he would like to keep some lines running.
In addition to transportation, the new mayor also outlined three other priorities. One is to provide excellent customer service, the second is to make government transparent and accountable. Lastly, Ford says he wants to reduce the size and cost of government.
Some opponents of Ford's mayoralty say they will gather at Nathan Phillips Square today to protest his policies. The group -- which includes activists from poverty, immigrant rights and accessibility organizations -- says it plans to assemble at noon.