No mandate for Ford’s transit plan

A good start to today with this press release from Leger Marketing:

While Mayor Rob Ford, the Toronto Transit Commission and the Ontario government are reviewing Toronto’s transit expansion plan, the city’s residents favour keeping the current “Transit City” light-rail transit expansion program, but are open to moving more of the new lines underground. These are among the key findings of an independent survey conducted by Leger Marketing between January 12-16, 2011.

via LEGER MARKETING | Torontonians want light-rail alongside subways: Poll.

Ford has continuously made reference to his mandate to cancel Transit City. “The people have spoken” and all that. This certainly does a lot to destroy that argument.

I still have a huge issue with people phrasing it as a binary “Subways or Light Rail” question, because it way oversimplifies the real issues at play. It’s like asking someone if they’d prefer broccoli or ice cream.

The full report is available online from Leger. Some other highlights:

  • “Almost two thirds (65%) saw the TTC’s “Transit City” plan as an effective step forward, versus 18% who disagree.”
  • “Most people (62%) would oppose cancelling or changing the current plan if it means higher costs or a longer wait to get new transit.” This is a huge, important statistic.
  • “Further questioning reveals that most people agree that transit plans should not change every time that a new government is elected (89%) to ensure long term needs are met.”
  • A full 67% of respondents disagreed with the claim that we should build subways “because it’s what Rob Ford promised in the election.”
  • 76% of those polled indicated that we should keep the light rail lines, either as planned or moving more of them underground. (Having a “move more of them underground” option kind of rankles me a bit, as even diehard supporters of Transit City would love to see more underground transit, but rational people recognize that the cost is daunting and perhaps not achievable.) Only 15% of people support cancelling the Transit City light rail lines and building subways instead.

The question of the day: What kind of lousy populist panders to only 15% of the population?

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