Rob Ford has unveiled what he calls an "ambitious plan" to expand subway service across Toronto.
As part of his mayoral re-election campaign, Ford is promising to build 32 kilometres worth of new subway track at an estimated cost of $9-billion.
Phase one of Ford's "Toronto Subway Expansion Plan" includes:
-Completing the eastern half of the Yonge or Downtown Relief line, linking Queen and Pape stations
-Cancelling a planned LRT along Finch Ave, replacing it with a subway to link Humber College and the future Finch West Station.
-Cancelling a planned LRT along Sheppard Ave, linking Don Mills and Sheppard-McCowan Stations
-Burying what is to be an above-ground section of the Eglinton Cross-town LRT between Laird and Kennedy.
While Ford did not offer an exact timeline for the projects, he says he wants to "bore, bore, bore until the cows come home." Speaking with Newstalk 1010's Jim Richards on the Showgram, Ford suggested if re-elected, his next term would be spent getting the expansion approved and funded.
"I have funding options in place," Ford insisted at a news conference Wednesday morning "and this is not putting the onus on the taxpayers."
At the top of Ford's list of funding possibilities, is partnering with provincial and federal governments. His mayoral rival, John Tory cast doubt on that possibility while appearing as a guest on Newstalk 1010's Moore in the Morning, suggesting Ford is "out of gas."
But Ford says he has heard it all before.
"Some of my competitors are saying I can't work with the provincial government and the federal government. It's funny that I could work with them quite well to build the Scarborough subway."
Ford is also proposing to sell city land along future subway lines and to develop the space above new stations to help fund expansion. At his news conference Ford predicted the sale of land and "air rights" could pull in "hundreds of millions" for Toronto, depending on the market.
By the time he spoke with Jim Richards, Ford's expectations had ballooned.
"There's a lot of land and air rights along the corridors, (it's) valuable. You can't a price on this, Jim," said Ford. "These options that I've given could be 50 billion dollars. There's tens of billions of dollars, not just nine billion dollars."
Ford dismissed suggestions that the math behind his plan was shaky or that he had low-balled the cost.
"This is as accurate as you're gonna get, for this time and these are the numbers. And if we're off by a million or so...," Ford trailed off.
Ford says he took his financial cues from the Toronto Transit Commission and from Metrolinx. But two of his planned projects have lower individual price tags than what is on the books. Ford's scheme also seems to suppose a lower cost per kilometre of subway track cost.
The supplied map does not lay out how many subway stops would be added or where they would go, including along the 11 km-long Finch line. But Ford tells Richards the cost of new stations and related environmental assessments are included in the $9-billion tally.
Phase two of Ford's plan would see another five subway extensions, including construction of the western half of the Yonge or Downtown Relief Line. Ford has not offered any possible timeline or pricetag for that phase.
You can read Rob Ford's entire "Toronto Subway Expansion Plan" HERE.