NDP: Fire Verster over colossal, costly Eglinton LRT disaster

QUEEN’S PARK – Joel Harden (Ottawa Centre), Official Opposition NDP Critic for Transit, called for accountability from new Transportation Minister Sarkaria, beginning with firing Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster after today’s announcement that the Eglinton Crosstown LRT continues to be plagued with problems and is still without an opening date.

“Consumed by scandal, Ford’s Conservatives have lost control of the province’s transit agency and the vital Eglinton Crosstown,” Harden said. “It’s clear they can’t build transit projects in this province, and people are left waiting for transit that feels like it will never arrive. What a colossal—and costly—disaster.” 

The Conservatives’ new Minister of Transportation, Prabmeet Sarkaria, was not present for the announcement. 

“Where is the new Minister?” GTA Issues critic Bhutila Karpoche asked. “When will this government take some responsibility? We’ve been flagging problems with this project for years. It's time for a change in leadership at Metrolinx.” 

The Official Opposition is calling on the government to fire Verster, who with an annual salary of nearly $900,000, is the fifth-highest paid public servant in the province. 

“Residents of my community deserve better,” said Jill Andrew (Toronto—St. Paul’s) who represents communities heavily impacted by this 13-year-long project. “Residents and business owners along Eglinton have felt the brunt of this project’s delays and disruptions for the past thirteen years, stuck waiting for Metrolinx to deliver on their transit promises to this community. This raises serious concerns about the government’s use of P3s to deliver on public infrastructure. The Ford government must work with our community to provide resolve, while doing better for all communities by abandoning the P3 model entirely; what the Eglinton Crosstown’s construction made clear is a failing model that does far more harm than good.” 

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