Rob Ford begins his tenure as our esteemed Mayor today.
Always a wallflower and one who likes to keep his big trap shut, he's already pissing me off. This will be all over the place, with no backing evidence, and also, I'm hungover and tired. Forewarned, you are.
"People do not want streetcars. We're going to start building subways and we're going to start right now."
This one sentence contains so much condensed stupid, I'm surprised it didn't collapse into a black hole of stupid, dragging all surrounding intelligence into its stupid maw.
Toronto has an approved and funded transit plan. Transit City will lay out light rail transit lines across the city (not streetcars), cost a few billion over decades, and should surpass the needs of this city beyond that. Assessments of ridership, growth, cost, and environmental impact have been done. Contracts have been signed with various companies to provide vehicles, lay track, etc.. Higher levels of government have approved the plan and promised funding for it. It's all been budgeted, and the ball is already rolling.
Subways are a pipe dream. They'll cost 3-5x more than the agreed-upon system, create even larger disruptions in traffic and daily life (entire streets completely dug up and exposed, buildings and houses torn down for stations, etc.), and would require a whole new round of assessments that wouldn't be completed until at least the NEXT election has come and gone. Sure, subways would be great, if they were remotely practical.
On top of that, subways would be nearly empty. The proposed routes don't have nearly enough ridership throughout the day to support the capacity of a subway system. An LRT system not only meets current needs, but surpasses them enough that it will take decades of growth to reach a level of saturation.
Then there's the contracts already signed. Bombardier and others aren't going to shrug and say, "oh, you changed your mind... that's okay." Hundreds of millions in cancellation costs would come into play. Years of planning tossed out the window. For something that WILL NOT BE REALIZED. "Start right now?" You're fucking dreaming.
Now, this level of idiocy sets of alarms in my head - he can't be THIS stupid, can he? It's some sort of political ploy. Distract the masses with an outrageous claim. The real goal is to just dismantle transit plans until the next Mayor has to make decisions. Something like that. Except that Ford and his team haven't shown nearly enough acumen to be that smart. This reeks of pure, unadulterated stupid. Our mayor can't see past the end of his nose, let alone any sort of broad picture or consequences.
He wants to cut costs, and the FIRST thing he proposes would add BILLIONS to them.
Maybe he should just set up a model railroad and convince himself he's achieved his goal. He can be mayor of Moronia.
Fuck, it's going to be a long four years.