Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Fact #14: Rob Ford lied to you when he said the Scarborough LRT would disrupt traffic


It's true. The biggest decision faced by council in 2013 was whether to replace the aging SRT with either a surface/subsurface extension of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT or a subsurface extension of the Bloor-Danforth Subway. The Crosswtown LRT option would run along the current SRT route, was preferred by transit planners, had more stations and was billions of dollars cheaper. The Danforth Subway option was more expensive and had less stops, but offered a faster ride and eliminated the annoying transfer at Kennedy Station.

Becuase both proposals would either run underground or along the current SRT route, neither option would ever inconvenience a single car or truck. Impact on traffic was completely irrelevant to the choice that taxpayers had to make. However, Rob Ford made this a centrepiece of his objections to the cheaper SRT option.

"LRTs go down the middle of roads, tear up your roads" Ford repeated during the subway vs. Crosstown debate on July 16th, 2013. He refused to correct himself after multiple people reminded him that the Crosstown extension wouldn't touch a single road.

Rob Ford either lacked a basic understanding of what he was debating, or he was purposely lying to taxpayers in order to get what he wanted.

Why should I care?

There are in fact three rail lines planned for Scarborough:

  1. The Sheppard LRT from Don Mills station to Scarborough Town Centre,
  2. The Crosstown LRT along Eglinton to Kennedy Station, and 
  3. The SRT replacement with a Subway or Crosstown extension
The first two lines will run down the middle of roads and impact traffic, but the SRT replacement would not. Ford is ok to talk in general terms about a preference for underground rail, but he is lying when he says that the SRT replacement (running along the current SRT route) would be any more disruptive to traffic than the current SRT (honk if the SRT has ever blocked your car).

As taxpayers consider how to pay for an SRT replacement, both rail options have significant advantages and disadvantages. Anyone who suggests the answer is clear-cut is oversimplifying the issue. What we don't need is politicians purposely confusing the conversation by repeating lies, or worse, not bothering to understand what they are debating.

Ford's supporters often say that he's "a straight talker" and "not like a regular politician". However, if he's going to mislead you on a $1B addition to your tax bill, what else is he lying about?

How do I know you're not lying?


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