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Tory-led city council continues Toronto's tragic transit farce

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The tragedy and farce that is Toronto's political capitulation to the cult of the car continues unabated.

Mayor John Tory -- despite the recommendations of the city's own planners and health officials, former mayors and many others -- has managed to narrowly get his "hybrid" Gardiner Expressway plan passed by Toronto city council and to see the boulevard plan of basically all experts (less narrowly) defeated.

This is yet another installment in the long and terrible history of the love affair that Toronto's politicians have with cars at the expense of public transit and good sense.

In this case an extra half-billion dollars will be used to ensure that a very small number of drivers will have a very, very slightly shorter commute (approximately three minutes) instead of using these funds to, for example, help desperately needed TTC expansion or even just upkeep.

Even worse, there are plans to look at the idea, proposed by Councillor Josh Colle, of possibly leasing or selling the entire Gardiner to the private sector, which would be a doubling-down-on-dumb given the fiasco that was the privatization of Ontario's Highway 407 and that has been privatization in general.

Far from an enviornment where there is a "war on the car" in the city, as former Mayor Rob Ford infamously claimed, the city is at war with its transit users to facilitate even the most minor of conveniences for suburban and other drivers.

Year after year, one disastrous detour after another is placed in the way of expanding a transit network that in many respects is one meant for a city half its size as Toronto falls further and further behind cities across North America.

From embracing the Scarborough subway; to a total unwillingness to understand what an LRT even is; to continued and grotesque under-funding and over-reliance on ever more onerous fares as service continues to decline; to, as one nearly perfect example, the most recent Toronto budget that contained an average tax increase on Toronto home-owners that was actually lower than the increase in annual fares on regular transit users; to the hideous eyesore disgrace that is the very Gardiner itself, separating a city from its waterfront -- Toronto is a city beholden to some vision of cars and commuting that hearkens back to an era before we knew just how terribly socially, economically and environmentally destructive this fixation on it was.

It is a situation whose horribly circular reality means that it is only destined to get worse, for it is the very pandering to cars and drivers that creates the stifling congestion that these same politicians rhetorically claim they are trying and are determined to curtail.

photo via wikimedia commons

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