AuthorC. Ian Kyer
  i s what characterizes the treat ment of public
transit at the Toronto city council. The mayor and that council seem to be for
ever asking what form transit ought to take; when it should be built; where
lines should run; where stops should be located; and, most importantly, how
it should all be funded.
Duringt hesedebatesitisnot unusualtohearsomeonesuggestth atthe
answer to many of these questions lies i n some form of private sector involve
ment — what we have come to label a public/private partnership. Howeve r,
there is an irony in any such suggestion t hat is almost certainly lost on those
listening and even on those ma king the suggestion: few realize that it was a
precipitated and shaped the Toronto Transportation Commission, which we
know as the Toronto Transit Commission or the TTC. That Commis sion was
created in by an Actof the Onta rioleg islature following aplebiscite
on public versus private ownership, but its origins long predate both the
vote and the legislation. The votes cast in favour of public ownership in the
plebisciteandi nthe Ontariolegi slatureweremot ivatedandin uencedby
threedecadesof legalbalesbetween theCitya nditsprivatesectort ransit
provider, the Toronto Railway Company (TRC). Few institutions can be said
to have been formed so directly and materially by a rejec tion of private sec
tor involvement as was the TTC.

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