With the provincial threat of taking over control of subways in the city hanging over his head, Mayor John Tory has announced the creation of a “transit czar.”
The position, which will be part of a newly created Transit Expansion Office, will focus on building the transit network plan, including the downtown relief line.
“When I was out campaigning during the recent election, I heard a lot from people about how they just want us to get on with building the transit that this city so desperately needs,” Tory said.
“To get on with building transit, we have to have a laser-like focus at city hall on doing the work needed to move ahead as quickly as possible.”
This person will become the primary liaison with the TTC, Metrolinx and other city of Toronto departments.
“I felt we needed somebody who was going to be ‘the’ point person, who is going to clear away obstacles and was going to make sure we moved ahead as quickly as we possibly could with every single one of the projects in the city-approved transit plan,” Tory said.
The mayor added that should this new transit czar encounter roadblocks, “this office will help to knock them down and I’ll be right behind them in doing that.”
“If one department, or area of the city government, is delaying progress, they will have a light shone on them, with my full support, and that delay will be brought to an end.”
But not everyone believes this is the answer the city needs to its transit issue.
“The suggestion that transit isn’t expanding because of poor organization within the public service is absurd,” city councillor Gord Perks tweeted.
Tory said that when it comes to transit expansion, the city can’t afford not to proceed even if the Ford government decides to cancel funding for projects.
This new office comes at the initiative of the city’s public service but at the direct request from the mayor.
There has been no word on how much this position will cost taxpayers or when hiring will begin.
Today I am announcing we are establishing a new transit expansion office that will lead and direct the city's participation in long term, multi-billion dollar transit network expansion projects. pic.twitter.com/PKyfBCSfZw
— John Tory (@TorontosMayor) November 8, 2018