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TTC: Sheppard Subway Extension (Proposed)

afransen

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Still just plans, plans, and more plans. We're a while out from anything shovel-ready. Just as well, too, I think a western extension would be more beneficial while we can still clear space for a TBM launch site near Sheppard West.
Well, it sounds like a lot of the preliminary engineering work is happening behind the scenes, in preparation for a formal announcements. There have been rumours swirling about it for a while now.
 

Northern Light

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Extension funding incoming.

Not for construction.

@Allandale25 has it right above.

****

I have my ear tight to the ground, I think we're still some serious distance away from construction.

We also still need the question answered about storage.

Either they require the western extension to access Wilson directly, or Sheppard East will need a dedicated yard.

The only place I can see to logically put the latter is CP's Toronto Yard, which is well north of Sheppard, and won't come cheap.

****

As a side note, every political party produces the province's public-facing books this way, and I can't stand it. Except for the highest level numbers (and even those require a large grain of salt) there's virtually no transparency.

I want to see Ministry by Ministry line-item plans for operating at least 5 years out; and capital plans at least 10 years out.

For all my complaints about the City's governance at least its far more transparent vs provincial opaqueness.
 

TheTigerMaster

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Not for construction.

@Allandale25 has it right above.

****

I have my ear tight to the ground, I think we're still some serious distance away from construction.

We also still need the question answered about storage.

Either they require the western extension to access Wilson directly, or Sheppard East will need a dedicated yard.

The only place I can see to logically put the latter is CP's Toronto Yard, which is well north of Sheppard, and won't come cheap.

****

As a side note, every political party produces the province's public-facing books this way, and I can't stand it. Except for the highest level numbers (and even those require a large grain of salt) there's virtually no transparency.

I want to see Ministry by Ministry line-item plans for operating at least 5 years out; and capital plans at least 10 years out.

For all my complaints about the City's governance at least its far more transparent vs provincial opaqueness.
I’d characterize Ontario’s political culture as shady and opaque. I don’t like it. The Government of Ontario (the institution) feels like it doesn't have any particular political philosophy beyond benefitting special interests. It was like that when the Liberals were in power, and Ford has continued that tradition, only more brazenly.

Metrolinx‘s structure appears to be a manifestation of this reality. This reality that the Government of Ontario wants to make decision in closed door, beyond public accountability.
 
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TheTigerMaster

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Not for construction.

@Allandale25 has it right above.

****

I have my ear tight to the ground, I think we're still some serious distance away from construction.

We also still need the question answered about storage.

Either they require the western extension to access Wilson directly, or Sheppard East will need a dedicated yard.

The only place I can see to logically put the latter is CP's Toronto Yard, which is well north of Sheppard, and won't come cheap.

****

As a side note, every political party produces the province's public-facing books this way, and I can't stand it. Except for the highest level numbers (and even those require a large grain of salt) there's virtually no transparency.

I want to see Ministry by Ministry line-item plans for operating at least 5 years out; and capital plans at least 10 years out.

For all my complaints about the City's governance at least its far more transparent vs provincial opaqueness.

I’d characterize Ontario’s political culture as shady and opaque. I don’t like it. The Government of Ontario (the institution) feels like it doesn't have any particular political philosophy beyond benefitting special interests. It was like that when the Liberals were in power, and Ford has continued that tradition, only more brazenly.

Metrolinx‘s structure appears to be a manifestation of this reality. This reality that the Government of Ontario wants to make decision in closed door, beyond public accountability.

A big issue with Canada’s provincial governments is their relative instability and lack of checks on their power.

1. Canada’s federal government has a senate, which stops madman Prime Ministers and their parties from doing too much damage when they’re in power. This has the effect of stabilizing the Government of Canada as a political institution. No matter who’s in charge, we can generally be confident that the federal government is in good hands.

Ontario doesn’t have a senate. That means there effectively exists no check on the Premier’s powers, outside of their own party. A rogue premier could do something absurd like shut down the City of Toronto tomorrow, and there’s nothing that could be done to stop it.

2. On top of that, the Premiers don’t particularly have a lot of motivation to act… responsibly. Canada’s federal government pretty much has all the “big boy” responsibilities, and the feds are Canada’s face on the world stage. The feds manage international trade, the feds manage interprovincial relations, the feds are predominantly in charge of the powerful financial and regulatory stuff. Basically, the federal government has to act responsibly, because Canada‘s credibility is on the line.

Let me put it this way: If the federal government had a pattern of acting as brazenly as Ontario, it would the subject of international condemnation, as well as internal condemnation from the provinces. But the federal government acts more responsibly, because the federal government simply has more responsibly than the provinces.

How does this relate to transit? Well, this political reality created by our constitution is why our provincial government (and Metrolinx) feel so opaque. It’s also why the Governments of Ontario’s plans and intentions are so difficult to pin down.

IMO, the Governemnt of Ontario would be significantly more stable and trustworthy if it had a senate. A senate would inhibit a premier from making brash decisions, while also adding a certain level of accountability and transparency to Ontarios governance. Without that check on their power, majority governments in Ontario can effectively operate behind closed doors. That’s deeply problematic, regardless of who is in charge.
 
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Northern Light

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A big issue with Canada’s provincial governments is their relative instability and lack of checks on their power.

1. Canada’s federal government has a senate, which stops madman Prime Ministers and their parties from doing too much damage when they’re in power. This has the effect of stabilizing the Government of Canada as a political institution. No matter who’s in charge, we can generally be confident that the federal government is in good hands.

Ontario doesn’t have a senate. That means there effectively exists no check on the Premier’s powers, outside of their own party. A rogue premier could do something absurd like shut down the City of Toronto tomorrow, and there’s nothing that could be done to stop it.

2. On top of that, the Premiers don’t particularly have a lot of motivation to act… responsibly. Canada’s federal government pretty much has all the “big boy” responsibilities, and the feds are Canada’s face on the world stage. The feds manage international trade, the feds manage interprovincial relations, the feds are predominantly in charge of the powerful financial and regulatory stuff. Basically, the federal government has to act responsibly, because Canada‘s credibility is on the line.

Let me put it this way: If the federal government had a pattern of acting as brazenly as Ontario, it would the subject of international condemnation, as well as internal condemnation from the provinces. But the federal government acts more responsibly, because the federal government simply has more responsibly than the provinces.

How does this relate to transit? Well, this political reality created by our constitution is why our provincial government (and Metrolinx) feel so opaque. It’s also why the Governments of Ontario’s plans and intentions are so difficult to pin down.

IMO, the Governemnt of Ontario would be significantly more stable and trustworthy if it had a senate. A senate would inhibit a premier from making brash decisions, while also adding a certain level of accountability and transparency to Ontarios governance. Without that check on their power, majority governments in Ontario can effectively operate behind closed doors. That’s deeply problematic, regardless of who is in charge.

I'm not a fan of the senate idea.

I think we've seen in the U.S. that yet one more legislature though which routine legislation must pass can be, at best, a path to gridlock. See the many items in Biden's platform which did not get through.

At the same time, it can result in increased grift and more opportunities to 'game the system'.

I grant that there is a need for some better mechanisms for accountability, but rather than get into that here, I'll set up a thread for that in the next day or two so we don't derail a transit thread with such. I think its an involved discussion!
 

TheTigerMaster

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Not for construction.

@Allandale25 has it right above.

****

I have my ear tight to the ground, I think we're still some serious distance away from construction.

We also still need the question answered about storage.

Either they require the western extension to access Wilson directly, or Sheppard East will need a dedicated yard.

The only place I can see to logically put the latter is CP's Toronto Yard, which is well north of Sheppard, and won't come cheap.

****

As a side note, every political party produces the province's public-facing books this way, and I can't stand it. Except for the highest level numbers (and even those require a large grain of salt) there's virtually no transparency.

I want to see Ministry by Ministry line-item plans for operating at least 5 years out; and capital plans at least 10 years out.

For all my complaints about the City's governance at least its far more transparent vs provincial opaqueness.

I’d characterize Ontario’s political culture as shady and opaque. I don’t like it. The Government of Ontario (the institution) feels like it doesn't have any particular political philosophy beyond benefitting special interests. It was like that when the Liberals were in power, and Ford has continued that tradition, only more brazenly.

Metrolinx‘s structure appears to be a manifestation of this reality. This reality that the Government of Ontario wants to make decision in closed door, beyond public accountability.

A big issue with Canada’s provincial governments is their relative instability and lack of checks on their power.

1. Canada’s federal government has a senate, which stops madman Prime Ministers and their parties from doing too much damage when they’re in power. This has the effect of stabilizing the Government of Canada as a political institution. No matter who’s in charge, we can generally be confident that the federal government is in good hands.

Ontario doesn’t have a senate. That means there effectively exists no check on the Premier’s powers, outside of their own party. A rogue premier could do something absurd like shut down the City of Toronto tomorrow, and there’s nothing that could be done to stop it.

2. On top of that, the Premiers don’t particularly have a lot of motivation to act… responsibly. Canada’s federal government pretty much has all the “big boy” responsibilities, and the feds are Canada’s face on the world stage. The feds manage international trade, the feds manage interprovincial relations, the feds are predominantly in charge of the powerful financial and regulatory stuff. Basically, the federal government has to act responsibly, because Canada‘s credibility is on the line.

Let me put it this way: If the federal government had a pattern of acting as brazenly as Ontario, it would the subject of international condemnation, as well as internal condemnation from the provinces. But the federal government acts more responsibly, because the federal government simply has more responsibly than the provinces.

How does this relate to transit? Well, this political reality created by our constitution is why our provincial government (and Metrolinx) feel so opaque. It’s also why the Governments of Ontario’s plans and intentions are so difficult to pin down.

IMO, the Governemnt of Ontario would be significantly more stable and trustworthy if it had a senate. A senate would inhibit a premier from making brash decisions, while also adding a certain level of accountability and transparency to Ontarios governance. Without that check on their power, majority governments in Ontario can effectively operate behind closed doors. That’s deeply problematic, regardless of who is in charge.

If municipalities desire stability in the transit building process, it might be wise for them to circumvent Queen’s Park, and directly advocate to the federal government for transit funding. The federal government is a powerful stakeholder that will demand responsibility and accountability from Queen’s Park. That’s something that municipalities cannot do by themselves.

I'm not a fan of the senate idea.

I think we've seen in the U.S. that yet one more legislature though which routine legislation must pass can be, at best, a path to gridlock. See the many items in Biden's platform which did not get through.

At the same time, it can result in increased grift and more opportunities to 'game the system'.

I grant that there is a need for some better mechanisms for accountability, but rather than get into that here, I'll set up a thread for that in the next day or two so we don't derail a transit thread with such. I think it’s an involved discussion!
I‘ll have my response ready 😎
 
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ARG1

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I'm not a fan of the senate idea.

I think we've seen in the U.S. that yet one more legislature though which routine legislation must pass can be, at best, a path to gridlock. See the many items in Biden's platform which did not get through.

At the same time, it can result in increased grift and more opportunities to 'game the system'.

I grant that there is a need for some better mechanisms for accountability, but rather than get into that here, I'll set up a thread for that in the next day or two so we don't derail a transit thread with such. I think its an involved discussion!
I'd argue in most cases, a gridlock is preferable to having a crazy maniac run a country into the ground, we have several millenia of kingdoms and empires to show as such. Granted we are in a much better position than those due to having strict maximum 4 year turns, but 4 years is often more than enough to just burn everything to the ground.
 

TheTigerMaster

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I'd argue in most cases, a gridlock is preferable to having a crazy maniac run a country into the ground, we have several millenia of kingdoms and empires to show as such. Granted we are in a much better position than those due to having strict maximum 4 year turns, but 4 years is often more than enough to just burn everything to the ground.
Powerful governance and the desire for stability are concerns that have to be balanced against each other. An overabundance of either power or stability is deeply problematic for a government. And imo, all the great political institutions through history have a legacy of policy continuation and stability, despite who is in power.

Ontario leans a bit too much towards political instability, imo. The lack of stability and accountability in our provincial government has direct real-world implications. An Ontario government with a rich history of political stability and legislative accountability would be less inclined to make brash decisions, like cancelling billion dollar investments every just because the new guy doesn’t like the project.

A more stable and accountable, yet powerful provincial government, is how we build a better society for ourselves.

We should all keep in mind that as wonderful as the transit investments are today, this can all be torn up the moment the government falls. This is something we’ve experience over and over and over again. This is the cost of our political instability. And it’s why we really can’t trust any of Queen’s Park’s plans, regardless of which party is in power, and even when the Premier’s intentions are sincere. It doesn’t matter how sincere the Premier is if the institution he leads is broken.
 
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TheTigerMaster

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If you look across the political history of Ontario’s infrastructure development, it’s fairly evident how Ontario’s chronic inability to focus on long-term goals has hindered it’s abilities to properly develop its cities and infrastructure.

Ontario’s postwar period was characterized by massive infrastructure growth. Infrastructure growth was easy for Ontario at the time, because infrastructure was cheap, and you could expect to build a new Downtown subway line in four or five years.

As infrastructure became slower and more difficult to develop, Ontario’s infrastructure development program broke down. Ontario lacked the discipline to focus on long-term goals. As subway projects took 8 or 12 years to build, it became really difficult for Ontario governments to justify expending political capital on projects that had little chance of actually being built during their term(s) in office.

Voters are inherently fickle and short-sighted (we’re all human; it is what it is), and Ontario’s media is chronically unable to hold the government accountable. And without a senate, nobody is asking MPPs and the Premiers if their decisions are in the long-term interests of the province.

This lack of long-term focus has resulted in a long (very long) series of bizarre decisions from various Ontario governments regarding infrastructure development. New premiers or MPPs would come in and arbitrarily slash projects. In response, they’d promise to build new projects, but those projects would inevitably be slashed or canceled (even if they were already under construction).

In the 2000s, the City of Toronto realized it desperately needed new transit. It also recognized that after subsequent debacles, Ontario was unable to effectively fund and deliver transit. The general mood in the city was that our era of transit expansion was over.

Toronto’s response to this was Transit City. A plan that - almost by design - was deeply flawed and compromised. And those compromises came out of Toronto’s recognition that Ontario did not have the long-term vision necessary to deliver subway projects that would take 15 years and cost $10 Billion. So the transit vision was effectively broken town into bite-sized chunks, in the hopes that it would be manageable enough for Ontario to handle.

But yet again, Ontario dropped the ball. The McGuinty-Wynne Liberals spent a decade playing games with transit. This resulted in Toronto’s already compromised transit expansion plans being further gutted.

This lack of focus has even informed the engineering decisions of several active transit lines. The soon-to-be decommissioned SRT was compromised because Ontario couldn’t decide on a vision for the project. The Crosstown LRT was comromised because nobody believed Ontario could deliver a subway project. The compromised Sheppard Subway was a result of a long series of short-sighted decisions and the provincial and municipal level.

So now we arrive at today. Doug Ford comes to power, cancels a bunch of infrastructure projects, plans a bunch of new ones, and promises this time, it will be different. Should we believe him?

Anyways, I’m not trying to be a downer. A realistic solution to break this deadlock is increased federal involvement. The federal government has the long-term focus necessary to build these generational projects. Even a 20% contribution from the federal government would invite a stakeholder to the table that would hold Ontario accountable, and ensure that the province delivers the results they promised.

We should also be careful to not pin blame on individual politicians. I believe a lot of them sincerely want to deliver these projects, but it’s really difficult for Ontario to consistently do so considering its political turbulence. As I mentioned before, nothing the Premier does can guarantee their vision will be delivered.
 
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44 North

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Well, it sounds like a lot of the preliminary engineering work is happening behind the scenes, in preparation for a formal announcements. There have been rumours swirling about it for a while now.

Rumours of a Sheppard Subway extension have been swirling for more than awhile. If it's to be for a 6-car subway, these rumours will continue swirling for eons.
 

DirectionNorth

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If you look across the political history of Ontario’s infrastructure development, it’s fairly evident how Ontario’s chronic inability to focus on long-term goals has hindered it’s abilities to properly develop its cities and infrastructure.

Ontario’s postwar period was characterized by massive infrastructure growth. Infrastructure growth was easy for Ontario at the time, because infrastructure was cheap, and you could expect to build a new Downtown subway line in four or five years.

As infrastructure became slower and more difficult to develop, Ontario’s infrastructure development program broke down. Ontario lacked the discipline to focus on long-term goals. As subway projects took 8 or 12 years to build, it became really difficult for Ontario governments to justify expending political capital on projects that had little chance of actually being built during their term(s) in office.

Voters are inherently fickle and short-sighted (we’re all human; it is what it is), and Ontario’s media is chronically unable to hold the government accountable. And without a senate, nobody is asking MPPs and the Premiers if their decisions are in the long-term interests of the province.

This lack of long-term focus has resulted in a long (very long) series of bizarre decisions from various Ontario governments regarding infrastructure development. New premiers or MPPs would come in and arbitrarily slash projects. In response, they’d promise to build new projects, but those projects would inevitably be slashed or canceled (even if they were already under construction).

In the 2000s, the City of Toronto realized it desperately needed new transit. It also recognized that after subsequent debacles, Ontario was unable to effectively fund and deliver transit. The general mood in the city was that our era of transit expansion was over.

Toronto’s response to this was Transit City. A plan that - almost by design - was deeply flawed and compromised. And those compromises came out of Toronto’s recognition that Ontario did not have the long-term vision necessary to deliver subway projects that would take 15 years and cost $10 Billion. So the transit vision was effectively broken town into bite-sized chunks, in the hopes that it would be manageable enough for Ontario to handle.

But yet again, Ontario dropped the ball. The McGuinty-Wynne Liberals spent a decade playing games with transit. This resulted in Toronto’s already compromised transit expansion plans being further gutted.

This lack of focus has even informed the engineering decisions of several active transit lines. The soon-to-be decommissioned SRT was compromised because Ontario couldn’t decide on a vision for the project. The Crosstown LRT was comromised because nobody believed Ontario could deliver a subway project. The compromised Sheppard Subway was a result of a long series of short-sighted decisions and the provincial and municipal level.

So now we arrive at today. Doug Ford comes to power, cancels a bunch of infrastructure projects, plans a bunch of new ones, and promises this time, it will be different. Should we believe him?

Anyways, I’m not trying to be a downer. A realistic solution to break this deadlock is increased federal involvement. The federal government has the long-term focus necessary to build these generational projects. Even a 20% contribution from the federal government would invite a stakeholder to the table that would hold Ontario accountable, and ensure that the province delivers the results they promised.

We should also be careful to not pin blame on individual politicians. I believe a lot of them sincerely want to deliver these projects, but it’s really difficult for Ontario to consistently do so considering its political turbulence. As I mentioned before, nothing the Premier does can guarantee their vision will be delivered.
Doug Ford is in office until 2026, and the NDPs and Liberals have all promised to keep their projects in motion. I don't like the guy, but as for transit capital spending, Doug is probably the "best" (I use that word in quotation marks) premier in a while. Operations, on the other hand ...
 

JSF-1

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If you look across the political history of Ontario’s infrastructure development, it’s fairly evident how Ontario’s chronic inability to focus on long-term goals has hindered it’s abilities to properly develop its cities and infrastructure.

Ontario’s postwar period was characterized by massive infrastructure growth. Infrastructure growth was easy for Ontario at the time, because infrastructure was cheap, and you could expect to build a new Downtown subway line in four or five years.

As infrastructure became slower and more difficult to develop, Ontario’s infrastructure development program broke down. Ontario lacked the discipline to focus on long-term goals. As subway projects took 8 or 12 years to build, it became really difficult for Ontario governments to justify expending political capital on projects that had little chance of actually being built during their term(s) in office.

Voters are inherently fickle and short-sighted (we’re all human; it is what it is), and Ontario’s media is chronically unable to hold the government accountable. And without a senate, nobody is asking MPPs and the Premiers if their decisions are in the long-term interests of the province.

This lack of long-term focus has resulted in a long (very long) series of bizarre decisions from various Ontario governments regarding infrastructure development. New premiers or MPPs would come in and arbitrarily slash projects. In response, they’d promise to build new projects, but those projects would inevitably be slashed or canceled (even if they were already under construction).

In the 2000s, the City of Toronto realized it desperately needed new transit. It also recognized that after subsequent debacles, Ontario was unable to effectively fund and deliver transit. The general mood in the city was that our era of transit expansion was over.

Toronto’s response to this was Transit City. A plan that - almost by design - was deeply flawed and compromised. And those compromises came out of Toronto’s recognition that Ontario did not have the long-term vision necessary to deliver subway projects that would take 15 years and cost $10 Billion. So the transit vision was effectively broken town into bite-sized chunks, in the hopes that it would be manageable enough for Ontario to handle.

But yet again, Ontario dropped the ball. The McGuinty-Wynne Liberals spent a decade playing games with transit. This resulted in Toronto’s already compromised transit expansion plans being further gutted.

This lack of focus has even informed the engineering decisions of several active transit lines. The soon-to-be decommissioned SRT was compromised because Ontario couldn’t decide on a vision for the project. The Crosstown LRT was comromised because nobody believed Ontario could deliver a subway project. The compromised Sheppard Subway was a result of a long series of short-sighted decisions and the provincial and municipal level.

So now we arrive at today. Doug Ford comes to power, cancels a bunch of infrastructure projects, plans a bunch of new ones, and promises this time, it will be different. Should we believe him?

Anyways, I’m not trying to be a downer. A realistic solution to break this deadlock is increased federal involvement. The federal government has the long-term focus necessary to build these generational projects. Even a 20% contribution from the federal government would invite a stakeholder to the table that would hold Ontario accountable, and ensure that the province delivers the results they promised.

We should also be careful to not pin blame on individual politicians. I believe a lot of them sincerely want to deliver these projects, but it’s really difficult for Ontario to consistently do so considering its political turbulence. As I mentioned before, nothing the Premier does can guarantee their vision will be delivered.
I think another important part of what made Ontario's post-war infrastructure boom so great was also that politically speaking Ontario for most of it was for lack of a better term, a one-party state. The conservatives basically ran the province for 42 consecutive years and lucked into a succession of really good Premiers. It's easier to think in the long term when you know you/your party are going to be around to see the result and take credit for it.
 

afransen

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Ideally we could make infrastructure, once committed to, harder to cancel capriciously. I don't know the best mechanism for doing that, but we seemed to achieve it with the CPP investment mandate, for instance.
 

Amare

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Ideally we could make infrastructure, once committed to, harder to cancel capriciously. I don't know the best mechanism for doing that, but we seemed to achieve it with the CPP investment mandate, for instance.
Well we've seen it before, with the Finch West LRT with that poison pill put into the contract which is why Doug Ford (despite his best intentions to cancel it) couldnt cancel the project. Make no mistake, that project would've been cancelled the minute Doug couldve done it, but the way the contract was structured made it significantly expensive to do it.
 

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