John Tory says city will hire 'transit czar' to be point person on network expansion
Chris Fox, CTV News Toronto
Published Thursday, November 8, 2018 12:22PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, November 8, 2018 1:14PM EST
The city will hire a “transit czar” that will be responsible for pushing ahead key projects and “knocking down roadblocks” to their completion, Mayor John Tory says.
Tory made the announcement at city hall on Thursday morning as he released details about a new transit expansion office that is being formed within the city bureaucracy.
The office will be responsible for overseeing and facilitating all work related to transit expansion and will also serve as a single point of contact for all city divisions and other agencies involved in transit expansion in Toronto.
“This comes at the initiative of the city’s public service but at my direct request made earlier this year,” Tory said. “I felt we needed somebody who was going to be the point person who would clear away obstacles and make sure we move ahead as quickly as we possibly can weigh every single one of the projects included in the city-approved transit plan.”
In the summer of 2016, city council approved a network transit plan that lists the projects that the city intends to build over the next 15 years, including the relief subway line, the Scarborough subway extension and the waterfront LRT.
Tory said that the person who is hired to oversee the transit expansion office will ultimately be responsible for making sure that the plan becomes reality.
“Quite simply the job will be transit expansion and making sure that expansion happens as quickly as possibly can be the case,” he said. “If they do encounter roadblocks this office will help to knock them down and I will be standing 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.”
The federal government has committed to providing the city with $4.8 billion for the expansion of Toronto’s transit networks over the next decade, money that the provincial government has said that it will match.
Tory said that the search for an executive director for the transit expansion office will “begin immediately.” He said that the ultimate goal is for the office to function as a "clearing house" for transit projects that will help implement a "laser-like focus" on getting transit built.
"We have to make sure that the city's public service is organized to serve a critical role in coordinating these projects and programs," he said.