Ford unveils $28.5B GTA transit project, says Ontario willing to foot the bill

Wednesday April 10, 2019
Written by The Canadian Press
April 10, 2019 – Ontario Premier Doug Ford says that while the province hopes the federal government, the City of Toronto and York Region will chip in more than half of a $28.5-billion transit project, Ontario is willing to foot the whole bill.

Ford unveiled a plan today to expand transit through the city of Toronto and into the surrounding regions, and the province says it will contribute $11.2 billion.

He says the province has been in discussions with the three other governments about funding for the project, but says if need be, Ontario will shoulder the whole burden.

The plan includes a Toronto downtown subway relief line that will be twice as long as the one considered by the city, completed two years earlier and cost $3.7 billion more.

The Progressive Conservative government says the new 15-kilometre relief line will run from Ontario Place in the city's west to the Ontario Science Centre in the east.

The city's current plan for the relief line runs 7.5 kilometres from the subway line on Danforth Avenue to the line on University Avenue in Toronto's core.

The province says it can deliver the project by 2027 – two years earlier than the city's projections – using stand-alone technology and a different procurement method. The project will cost $10.9 billion, up from the city's $7.2 billion estimate for its version of the line.

"For the first time ever the Ontario government is taking the lead in building new subways in this province, because the people of Ontario have waited long enough," Ford says. "I talk to people every day and I know that you are tired of being stuck in traffic. That's all I hear, 'We're stuck in traffic.' You're tired of being crammed into overcrowded subways. You are tired of waiting to get home to your families."

Toronto Mayor John Tory was not at the announcement because he hadn't been fully informed about it, he said a day earlier.

Tory says the city continues to be concerned that any changes in its transit planning could lead to delays.

Ford has promised to upload responsibility for Toronto's subway system, including all future projects, to the province. The Toronto Transit Commission would retain control of the day-to-day operations of the subway, buses, and street cars, and the city would keep fare box revenue.

The premier has said the TTC has done well in operating the system but he believes the province can build subways more efficiently. The province could use its broader regional transit planning powers and fiscal flexibility to deliver the projects, he has said.

The province and city are negotiating the terms of the upload, a process that is still ongoing despite of the impending announcement from the province.

News from © The Canadian Press Enterprises 2019

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