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Councillor eyes provincial cash

Frank Calleja
STAFF REPORTER

A $1.4 billion proposal to loosen gridlock by extending the Spadina subway line from Downsview station to the planned Vaughan Corporate Centre on Highway 7 is “possible right now.”

That’s what Vaughan’s Ward 4 Councillor Mario Racco believes, “now that the provincial government has made a commitment to fund public transit initiatives.”

Racco’s view won the support of council yesterday, as it approved a resolution endorsing the construction of the 8.6-kilometre Spadina-York subway extension to spur the economy and help ease road congestion in the GTA.

Vaughan council heard highlights of a report by consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers titled The Spadina-York Subway Extension - Business Case: A Solution for Gridlock in the Northwestern GTA.

Although there were questions about long-term funding, councillors agreed to request that the province and the federal government make a long-term funding commitment to GTA public transit that will permit long-term planning. They also asked that additional funding be provided through a dedicated portion of gasoline taxes as well as other sources.

“The project is definitely feasible within a time span of seven to 10 years and we’re urging the municipality to press forward with it. A major step would be an environmental assessment,” said Doug Annand, with PricewaterhouseCoopers’ real estate advisory services.

The extension northwest from Downsview station through York University to the Vaughan Corporate Centre - 50 hectares along Highway 7 from Jane St. to Highway 400 - would provide a conduit for commercial, industrial and residential growth in the region, Racco said.

“Gridlock and related problems results in the loss of $2 billion annually to the economy of the GTA,” Racco said. “That is a massive impact that this line could help reduce.”

Racco said the province’s $9 billion over 10 years transit plan, announced last week, along with federal and local contributions, should underwrite the extension’s costs.

Councillors were told the project could be done in two phases, costing about $1 billion to extend it to Steeles Ave. and remainign $400 million to link it to the developing corporate centre on Highway 7, between Jane St. and Highway 400.




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