Friday, March 2, 2012

Rant: Subways in Toronto. This Bullshit has to Stop.

Toll roads are an option, he said, but rather than put tolls on the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway, Councillor Ford proposed new purpose-built freeways through the city.

“On a nickel a kilometre — it’ll bring in $200 million a year,” he said, noting it would cost “a good chunk” to build new highways, but then all revenues could flow to subway construction. He said he would happily pay $3 to whiz downtown from Etobicoke rather than be stuck in Gardiner gridlock.
Excuse me. I need to go scream at the heavens for a bit...


No, still need to find my happy place... BRB...


Ok... heres the problem folks. The Fords want to build subways but no one wants to pay taxes or development fees to finance them, they also don't have the cajones to admit they screwed up when they canceled a revenue stream that could have paid for Subways when they bought votes with tax cuts, and so now we find then unable to bankroll their big platform idea.

Remember this key detail, because it's important: there's no money for their little project. Zero, zilch, nada. Not only that, but even the Chong plan has now been debunked by City Hall staff outside the "disloyal" TTC who found the revenue projections overly optimistic and the case still ~$1 Billion short at the end of the day before said projections crashed into the wall that was reality.

So, again, there is no money.

Having realized this Doug, who's supposedly the "smarter" brother, now suggests the solution is to build new freeways (because, again folks, no cajones to place tolls on existing freeways to be found here), and toll those because it seems that while there is no money for subways there is money in some dark recess of City Hall for that.

Sorry, but I call bullshit.

Here is what's going to be needed to get "new" freeways built in Toronto:

1) Environmental Assessment of Routes which means millions of dollars and years spent chasing our tails just to plot the trail.

2) Mass expropriation of land. Unless you want to tunnel the whole thing (hey, that's only a few hundred million a kilometre, if you're lucky. Just ask Boston), you're going to have to buy people out of the way because there is very little open space left within the city. With ramshackle huts in this town going for $500K a pop, this will amount to hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars. Oh, and court cases to tie the process up for a few more years.

3) OMB Reviews. Yes, even those folks who don't get their land expropriated are going to be pissy when you announce there's now going to be a freeway through their neighbourhood. Have fun sitting around the court table for another few years.

4) Yay! Maybe we can get to construction now! That'll just cost a few billion and, take 5 to 10 years as they split out the payouts to construction over multiple years, and play havoc on city traffic flow as we tear up existing streets, build overpasses, and off/on ramps. No problems there at all....

So, I'd say a safe, conservative estimate, is that about 15 to 25 years from now and Billions later you'll get freeways to pay for subways. Good thing Mr Mammoliti and "Finch Area Residents" are willing to wait 50 years to get them 'cause that would the the optimistic timeframe as I'm willing to bet cold hard cash that Tolls will have to pay all this back before they can be directed to feed subways.

One small little problem: if there's no fucking money to pay to build subways where's the money going to come for this???

The private sector? Well, lets stop, look, and listen for a second. Doug suggests a Toll of 5 cents a kilometre. The 407 ETR charges 19-25 cents/km depending on the time of day. Thus, if you're looking to the private sector I suggest you try again off your meds 'cause they're affecting your perception of reality: they're going to want far more than 5 cents.

Sooooo, without a much higher fare we're likely back to the public sector spending billions in the hope that someday they might be able to make money to build something else.

Suggestion: if we have the billions to build new freeways we damned well have the billions to build the subways that make them irrelevant. Or we don't; remember point one folks. In the later case, council really needs to put an end to the Rob and Doug show so we can get back to legitimate discussion of how to get this done because the current spittle coming from their foaming little mouths is inarguably full of it and amounts to little but a continuation of pander beyond measure.

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