Tory to ap­point ‘tran­sit czar’ to get new lines built quickly, ef­fi­ciently

One coun­cil­lor says the lack of fund­ing and all the po­lit­i­cal med­dling is big­gest ob­sta­cle

StarMetro Toronto - - FRONT PAGE - Ben Spurr TRANS­PORTA­TION RE­PORTER

The city is ap­point­ing its first “tran­sit czar” in what Mayor John Tory says is a bid to en­sure new lines are built as quickly and ef­fi­ciently as pos­si­ble.

The new tran­sit ex­pan­sion of­fice, which Tory an­nounced Thurs­day morn­ing at city hall, will be headed by an ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor who the mayor said would be re­spon­si­ble for iden­ti­fy­ing road­blocks to get­ting tran­sit built within city gov­ern­ment, and serve as a point of con­tact be­tween city di­vi­sions, the TTC, Metrolinx, and other or­ders of gov­ern­ment work­ing on new lines.

“I felt we needed some­body who was go­ing to be the point per­son, who was go­ing to clear away ob­sta­cles, and was go­ing to make sure we moved ahead as quickly as we pos­si­bly could with ev­ery sin­gle one of the projects in the cityap­proved tran­sit plan,” Tory said at a news con­fer­ence.

“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,” Tory con­tin­ued.

“You need some­body that quite frankly — I hate to put it in the ver­nac­u­lar — that’s go­ing to kick some butt.”

Tory, who in the run-up to last month’s elec­tion had re­peat­edly said he was al­ready do­ing ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to get projects like the re­lief line built quickly, said the city would be­gin the search for the direc­tor of the new of­fice im­me­di­ately.

A city spokesper­son said the salary range for the po­si­tion is $196,596 to $221,166.

The pre­lim­i­nary bud­get for the of­fice is es­ti­mated at $2 mil­lion a year, the spokesper­son said, which in­cludes salaries for a staff of 12 to 15 em­ploy­ees. The spokesper­son said the bud­get would ini­tially come from money coun­cil had al­ready ear­marked to sup­port tran­sit projects.

Full story at thes­tar.com/gta

DOUG IVES/THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

The new tran­sit ex­pan­sion of­fice, which Tory an­nounced Thurs­day morn­ing at city hall, will be headed by an ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor.

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