Many cities in the US have a vote of all the people to approve bond issues that finance a new bridge, highway, or transit project. Toronto and other Canadian cities don't seem to do this. Instead, we leave the decisions to our elected representatives, and the capital financing for the projects gets all lumped together in the overall capital budget, instead of backed by individual bond issues.
I think we should use the referendum system. If Miller had used a referendum to vote on Transit City, and it had passed (not obvious), then it would have been very hard for Mayor Ford to cancel it and claim that "the people don't want it." Same for the delays to subway train and streetcar orders.
And, the bond issue would have to state very clearly the level of provincial government funding for the project. So it would have been harder for Premier McGuinty to delay, cancel, or reshuffle his Transit City funding commitments too.
I guess Toronto used to have these votes - e.g. that's how we got the Yonge Subway I think. I don't know when we stopped voting or why.
What do people think? My view is that our leaders have shown themselves to be completely untrustworthy for infrastrucutre planning. We need to take it out of their hands and vote on it ourselves.