John Duffy, who served as Chief Policy Advisor to John Tory’s mayoral campaign, speaks to Spacing Magazine about the path forward for Tory’s Smart Track transit plan and what happens next as the centrepeice of his campaign moves forward. It’s a complex path as it involves multiple stakeholders, agencies, as well as the provincial and federal governments.
From there, the whole operation deep dives into a netherworld of detailed studies and backroom, inter-governmental bargaining. According to Liberal strategist John Duffy, who advised Tory on transit during the campaign, the city or Metrolinx need to complete a ridership study that assesses the network effects of a Smart-Track service. Similarly, one of the two agencies must also complete a business case analysis, which is now — but not in the past — a pre-condition to new transit projects.
Lastly, Duffy says, the city’s planning and finance officials will have to drill down into Tory’s tax-increment financing pledge, while also looking at other ways of capturing a portion of the anticipated increases in tax assessment that may occur along the corridor.
Meanwhile, the City and Metrolinx are going to have to figure out how to mesh the Smart Track planning process, which Tory will initiate in early January, with the Regional Express Rail planning, which has been underway for months and involves a much larger canvas (the entire GTA, Hamilton and Kitchener-Waterloo).