Ford appoints special advisor on uploading control of Toronto’s subways to the province

Premier Doug Ford has taken another step toward actualizing his campaign promise of uploading responsibility for Toronto’s subways to the province, announcing Friday that a special advisor has been appointed to head up the effort.

Michael Lindsay, a former vice president of commercial projects at Infrastructure Ontario — where he, according to the province, worked to modernize public assets — will serve in the advisor’s role. He also has extensive experience in the private sector.

Lindsay will head up a panel of three experts that will help him to “efficiently and effectively deliver” a plan to transfer responsibility for building and maintaining new and existing subway lines to the provincial government. Ford said during the spring election that Toronto will continue to operate the system and keep the revenue it generates.

“The Toronto subway system is critical for the economic success of the region. An upload of the subway would help the province to implement a more efficient regional transit system, reduce costs and build transit faster,” the province said in a news release.

“It could also allow the province to fund and deliver additional transit projects sooner.”

The release provides no project timeline for how long this phase of the process may take.

Mayor John Tory said earlier this month that any such plan will require “robust consultation” with the public, city staff and council and the Toronto Transit Commission.

In a statement released on Friday, Tory said he will wait to hear more from the province about the terms for the advisory panel and “what it means for our city.”

“I have been clear that any decision about our subway system needs to be in the best interests of the people of Toronto and Toronto must be completely involved and consulted,” he said.

“We need to get transit built, and we need to do it faster. I’ve spent the last four years working with the provincial and federal governments to get this done and I am determined to keep doing that because that is the only way we will keep building transit.”

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