Yesterday, Premier Dalton McGuinty announced that the Government of Ontario would supply billions of tax dollars to help build public transit infrastructure in the Greater Toronto Area and Hamilton. He announced that the government would fund three rapid transit projects in Toronto and another in York Region. The government would also support a study of two more rapid transit lines in Hamilton.
The funds are part of the MoveOntario 2020 program that the government introduced in 2007 and not one of the projects it promised during last week’s budget — which means that the Premier will likely offer more funds for more projects in the near future.
The projects that are immediately moving forward are:
- $4.6 billion to build the Eglinton - Crosstown light rail transit line. The province will help the City of Toronto and the TTC build the new 30-kilometre Transit City line along Eglinton Avenue between Toronto Pearson International Airport and Kennedy Station, including a 10-kilometre tunnel between Keele and Leslie Streets. The environmental assessment is under way and the City and TTC will host a second series of public meetings this spring. The TTC expects to start building in 2010 and operate in 2016. You can learn more about the project here.
- $1.2 billion to build the Finch light rail transit line. The province will help the City of Toronto and the TTC build the new 30-kilometer Transit City line along Finch Avenue and Don Mills Road between Humber College and Don Mills Station. After the City and TTC finish the environmental assessment, the TTC expects to start building in 2010 and operate in 2013. You can learn more about the project here.
- $1.4 billion to upgrade the Scarborough rapid transit (RT) line. The province will help the City of Toronto and the TTC replace the current RT vehicles and upgrade the line between Kennedy and McCowan Stations. It will also support the City’s plans to extend the line to either Markham Road and Sheppard Avenue East or the Malvern Town Centre near Neilson Road and McLevin Avenue. The City and TTC have not yet finished the environmental assessments for the project, but the TTC expects to start building in 2010 and operate by 2015. You can learn more about the project here.
- $1.4 billion to upgrade Viva bus rapid transit. The province will help York Region buy more buses and build reserved bus lanes and stations along Highway 7 and Yonge Street. The Region has already finished the environmental assessment for the lines and expects to start building this fall. The first section along Highway 7 between Markham and Richmond Hill Centre would be ready in 2011, with full service along both lines operating by 2013. You can learn more about the project here.
- $3 million to support planning studies for the Hamilton A and B rapid transit lines. The province will support the City of Hamilton to finalize its plans to build an east-west rapid transit line along Osler Drive, Main Street, King Street and Queenston Road between University Plaza in Dundas and Eastgate Terminal and a north-south line along James and Upper James Streets between downtown Hamilton and John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport. You can learn more about the projects here.
Read Steve Munro’s comments here.