Mayor John Tory’s “SmartTrack” continues to be on track.
The City of Toronto project, which is in partnership with the TTC and Metrolinx, got another green light from City Council on Wednesday, approving over two billion in funding.
In December, Council approved the six SmartTrack stations, which include St. Clair-Old Weston, King-Liberty, East Harbour, Gerrard-Carlaw, Lawrence-Kennedy, and Finch Kennedy.
The stations have now secured city funding, as council voted to contribute up to $1.195 billion to Metrolinx “for the Base Station Infrastructure, and for Metrolinx to proceed with the procurement of the SmartTrack Stations Program.
City Council also approved a contribution of up to $268 million to Metrolinx for “City-Initiated Station Requirements.” The required City Contribution of up to $1.46 billion carried.
For those who remember John Tory’s 2014 mayoral campaign, this new 6-line system may look a little different than what was initially proposed. At the time, Tory proposed the $8 billion SmartTrack line as a 53 km, 22-station surface subway relief line.
And Councillors are calling out Tory on the plan.
“As your counsellor, the question I’m considering now is whether or not the plan as presented this week is well thought out, reflects Toronto residents’ priorities for transit, has a transparent financing plan, and is worth a large investment of your money,” wrote Coun. Josh Matlow this week.
“While I support the concept of better utilizing existing GO lines to serve Toronto’s transit needs, there is simply not enough information in the staff report provided to Council to determine whether these 6 stations are a good investment,” he said.
Meanwhile, Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam said the SmartTrack debate is “about election optics.”
This SmartTrack debate is about election optics. Mayor’s original 22 stations is now only 6. He promised zero tax dollars to be used but now City pays $878M. Prov govt says $3/ride but zero in writing. Should Toronto pay for Metrolinx infrastructure +subsidize out-of-town riders?
— Kristyn Wong-Tam (@kristynwongtam) April 25, 2018
Both voted against the motion, which ended up passing late on Wednesday afternoon.
We are working to get SmartTrack built. Since I took office, Council has approved the project, approved the locations and alignments, approved the funding agreement with the province to share the costs & approved fare integration so it will cost the same as the TTC. #getTOmoving pic.twitter.com/sEGgGf1Zm0
— John Tory (@JohnTory) December 5, 2017