Building a better Toronto for less

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Building a better Toronto for less
People walk along a path along the newly-opened second section of the High Line park in on June 7, 2011 in New York City. The new section concludes at 30th Street and will add 10 blocks, doubling the length of the High Line to one mile. The original section opened in June 2009 and runs from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street. The High Line was formerly an elevated railway 30 feet above the city's West Side that was built in 1934 for freight trains hauling dairy products, produce and meats and had become dilapidated after the rail closed in 1980. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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Building a better Toronto for less
People walk along a path along the newly-opened second section of the High Line park in on June 7, 2011 in New York City. The new section concludes at 30th Street and will add 10 blocks, doubling the length of the High Line to one mile. The original section opened in June 2009 and runs from Gansevoort Street to 20th Street. The High Line was formerly an elevated railway 30 feet above the city’s West Side that was built in 1934 for freight trains hauling dairy products, produce and meats and had become dilapidated after the rail closed in 1980. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

What if StatsCan is right? What if Toronto really is one of the unhappiest cities in Canada? According to a recently released report, only Vancouverites are more miserable than we Torontonians.

Though it’s hard to explain precisely why, the sorry state of municipal infrastructure looms large as a cause, or more specifically, it may be the looming cost of expanding and rehabilitating that infrastructure.

Issues such as transit and housing affect city residents directly, but dealing with them will require tens of billions of dollars over the next two or three decades.
No wonder Torontonians are unhappy; one way or another, they and every other Canadian will have to pay through the nose to make up for 25 years of neglect.

The amounts will be — already are — staggering. Just installing a light rail line on Hurontario St. will cost $1.6 billion, easily $2 billion by the time the fairy dust settles. Whether it’s constructing new subways, extending highways, repairing public housing, finishing Union Station or keeping up the Gardiner, public money will flow as never before.

And because taxes scare us; we will sell off one public utility to help another survive. But knowing what we do about corporate-sector incompetence, it’s hard to see how privatization is the answer. And if it were; why sell off Hydro One? Why not the TTC, GO, or the LCBO? []

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