Toronto City Council voted — again — yesterday to approve an $8.7-billion plan for light rail on Eglinton, Sheppard, Finch and to replace the Scarborough RT. A large majority of councillors voted in favour of signing the master agreement with Metrolinx, even after Mayor Rob Ford stood up and yelled a bit about how terrible the plan would be.
The vote is a relief, ensuring that Toronto should actually see construction of the transit expansion plan originally envisioned by Mayor David Miller and former TTC chair Adam Giambrone. The only roadblock going forward is PC leader Tim Hudak, who has promised to look at trashing the plan, should his party form government, in favour of a bid to maybe possibly build some subways sometime.
Special mention needs to be made of the handful of councillors who voted against signing the final contract. They did so with the full knowledge that a negative council decision would have very likely persuaded the province to put their money elsewhere.
In other words: Some elected officials were willing to gamble with more than eight billion dollars.
I'm not going to dwell too much on this kind of story, because Ford hit Peak Scandal a while back and I'm not sure any of it matters.
But, hey, there are at least two more seasons of football to go before the next municipal election. I doubt we've seen the last of Ford skipping out of things to head for the field.
On an hour-by-hour basis, council probably spent more time over the last three days debating issues relating to councillor conduct and appointment scandals than they did talking about things that might actually impact citizens.
As they were doing that, 550 Torontonians got word they're going to lose their jobs following the closure of Mr. Christie's bakery next year. The city also released an update to its economic dashboard, showing that the unemployment rate in Toronto has edged up to 9.7 per cent, almost a full percentage point higher than it was last year.
Might be nice to have a mayor and council willing to focus on issues like these.
This post was originally published at http://www.metronews.ca/views/toronto/ford-for-toronto-matt-elliott/2012/11/02/toronto-wrap-lrt-approved-again-ford-steps-out-for-football-disappearing-toronto-jobs.html on 2012-11-02T00:00:00.000Z