Ontario Government Agency, Metrolinx, announced its plans to allow a private company to build AND RUN the new Eglinton-Scarborough Crosstown, Finch and Sheppard light rail lines. According to a comprehensive TTC study, a privately run light rail line will likely mean increased construction costs, less public influence over the project, and delays in completion. We believe the new light rail lines should be publicly-run and controlled by the TTC.
1. Call or write to the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, Bob Chiarelli, and tell him you do not support the handing over of the Light Rail Transit expansion of the Elginton Crosstown Line or other light rail lines to private multinational consortiums. We can’t afford to lose 50 years of TTC experience, expertise and public accountability for private profit. It was Chiarelli’s decision to impose a Public-Private Partnership (P3) on LRT expansion in Toronto, at the last minute. email@example.com 416-327-9200.
2. Call your local councillor at 311 and send the same message.
3. Join the TTCriders/Scarborough Transit Action Working Group.
Contact Brenda Thompson firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: Scarborough Transit Action
WHY ARE WE CONCERNED?
All across the city, many of you helped create a groundswell of demand to have Transit City restored, and cheered when City Council acted to bring back the four Light Rail projects that Mayor Ford had cancelled. However, just as we have been savouring our victory, another potentially worse threat is looming that could forever change the nature and function of the TTC.
Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency, announced at its April 25th meeting that it intended to take over management of these LRT projects in the context of “alternative financing and procurement” (AFP), also known as “public-private-partnership” (P3).
In response, at the May 30th TTC Commission meeting, TTC staff presented an analysis of the serious problems with this arrangement set out in an arms-length study and report provided by the American Public Transit Association. Briefly, the report argued there will be:
- increased costs, delays in completion,
- greater complexity and likelihood of confusion,
- and loss of public consultation and accountability.
The Commission never responded to the staff presentation but instead affirmed its willingness to cooperate with the Metrolinx takeover, in which the four projects will most likely be contracted out to one large, multi-national consortium. Thus, one private company will be working with two levels of government and two transit agencies to carry out four local projects, on which the TTC has already been doing extensive work in planning and design.
The TTC has an existing department with fifty years experience in design and construction of rapid transit projects. As the third largest transit system in North America, it has no need of outside agencies to take over its work. In fact, Metrolinx will have to establish a new organization to manage these projects.
- Read the Toronto Star article written by TTCriders member, Joell Ann Vanderwagon called “Premier Dalton McGuinty should tame the Metrolinx beast”
Thus, the pressing question is, “Why? What is the motive and purpose for this takeover and transfer to the private sector?” The answer seems to be that this action in Toronto is part of a world-wide effort by corporations to take over public institutions and resources in order to operate them for private profit-making purposes. This has already happened to transit systems in Britain, Australia, and British Columbia with well-publicized deleterious consequences. Toronto needs to learn from their experiences before going down the same road.
- Watch the Public Transit Coalition’s video on the consequences of privatization.