The Progressive Conservative provincial government is moving ahead with its controversial plan to take over Toronto’s subway system.
In a statement released Friday, Minister of Transportation John Yakabuski announced the appointment of a special adviser who will make recommendations on how best to upload the city-owned rail network to the province.
The adviser, Michael Lindsay, is a former vice president at Infrastructure Ontario, and has also served as a director at Hatch, an engineering consulting firm.
“This is part of our government’s plan to improve public transit and bring relief to commuters across the region,” said Yakabuski in the release.
“Travelling around the GTHA can be difficult and cumbersome. Traffic congestion and a lack of transit infrastructure is costing money, jobs and time. Our government is stepping up and treating the subway like the vital service it is.”
The Tories have stressed that the government is only considering taking ownership of the subway system, and would leave day-to-day operations to the TTC. They argue that taking control of the subway system would reduce costs and allow the province to build transit faster.
However, experts have warned that splitting ownership of the TTC could lead to conflicts between the city and province that would be detrimental to transit users.
Critics have also argued that under provincial control, the TTC subway could be expanded into the GTA suburbs where the Tories have strong support, at the expense of building new lines badly needed to relieve congestion in the busy downtown core.