Incoming premier Doug Ford says his government will one day build subways to Pickering and Markham — cities that are already served by GO Transit's above-ground rail lines.
Ford made the claim at a Pickering news conference where he was asked about a dubious British study that suggests Toronto has the worst commute in North America.
"We've been preaching for 10 years in Toronto … we love subways. Rapid underground transit," Ford told reporters.
He then attacked light rail, a less expensive form of transit being built in municipalities across Ontario.
"They rip up two lanes of road traffic and they clunk along the street — antiquated system," he said.
Ford, who has committed to building three-stop subway to Scarborough, as well as the downtown relief line — projects that both come with multi-billion dollar price tags — then suggested the PCs subway dreams stretch beyond Toronto's borders.
"We're going to focus on being the most modern transit system in the world. We're going to build rapid underground transit that's going to extend, not only in Toronto, but we're the first government that's going to run a regional transportation system. So folks in Pickering eventually will be able to hop on a subway and get to downtown Toronto. People of Markham and the outlying areas, over time, will be on a subway, to make sure that we get traffic moving."
Ford's spokesperson, Jeff Silverstein, played down that pledge in an email statement following Ford's comments.
"Doug Ford wants to build a state of the art transit system across the GTA, which includes looking at all options for extending transit lines to regions outside of Toronto," he wrote.
GO Trains already in place
Markham and Pickering are both about 40 kilometres from Toronto's Union Station.
Ford didn't say how the government would pay for that huge amount of subway, nor why it would spend taxpayer money on subways when GO Transit trains already connect those areas to Toronto.
Metrolinx, the Ontario government agency that runs transit in the region, declined to comment on Ford's plan, but a spokeperson said it's looking forward to working with the new government.
Metrolinx's 2041 Regional Transportation Plan, which envisions a seamlessly connected transit system, does not include subways to Pickering and Markham.