Ford asks federal government to help fund $28.5 billion in major GTA transit projects

Mar 10 2020, 8:50 am

The Province of Ontario is asking the federal government to help fund four major subway projects being built in the GTA.

On March 10, Premier Doug Ford, Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney, and Associate Minister of Transportation Kinga Surma “invited” the federal government to fund at least 40% of the subway projects.

According to Mayor John Tory, the provincial government’s $30 billion on transit expansion in Toronto — which includes the Scarborough Subway Extension, Eglinton West LRT, and the Ontario Line — is added to the City of Toronto’s investment of more than $6 billion into the existing transit system for new subways, new subway signal systems, new buses, new streetcars, and station upgrades.

“Today’s announcement by Premier Doug Ford and the provincial government is a step forward in the important work we need to do to get the Scarborough Subway Extension and the Eglinton West LRT built,” Tory said in a statement.

Expanding the two major transit projects

Before the First Ministers Meeting this week, Ford will be leading a Team Ontario delegation of Cabinet Ministers to Ottawa to discuss partnering with the federal government on transit funding and other provincial matters.

The invitation to the federal government comes as the Ontario government said the first phase of construction and tunnelling work for two priority transit projects ― the three-stop Scarborough Subway Extension and the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension with planned connection to Pearson International Airport.

Two Requests for Qualifications (RFQs) were issued for Eglinton and Scarborough transit projects, through Infrastructure Ontario (IO) and Metrolinx, which marks the first step in delivering on the province’s agenda to provide expanded and faster transit.

According to Metrolinx, the RFQ is an official call-out to interested bidders to step forward and is the first step in the procurement process to prequalify project teams that have required design and construction capability to undertake projects of this scale.

Once the qualified teams are in place, a Request for Proposals will be issued in the summer of 2020.

Expansion plans for Scarborough and Eglinton LRT

Metrolinx Senior Advisor and Media Relations spokesperson Suniya Kukaswadia said the Scarborough Subway Extension and Eglinton Crosstown West Extension will provide “significant benefits for regular commutes and special journeys by cutting travel times and expanding passenger capacity.”

Both projects would also provide congestion relief, improved connection to other transit systems and jobs, and a focus to create more transit-oriented communities.

Specifically, the Scarborough Subway Extension will link riders to GO Transit (rail and bus), future Eglinton Crosstown LRT, future Durham Region Transit bus services and local TTC bus connections.

The Scarborough extension will replace the TTC’s Line 3, costing around $5.5 billion, bringing transit approximately 7.8 km farther into Scarborough from Kennedy Station to Sheppard, according to Metrolinx.

Metrolinx

Metrolinx also said the Eglinton Extension will link riders to four different transit systems – UP Express and Kitchener Line GO train service at Mount Dennis Station, TTC bus services at all transit stops in Toronto, and MiWay and GO Bus services.

The line will extend approximately 9.2 km from Mount Dennis LRT station to Renforth Drive in Mississauga. There is also discussion to build a transit connection to Toronto Pearson Airport which would cost approximately $4.7 billion.

Metrolinx

Both transit projects have had delays and plan changes

But both projects have been met with some opposition by community members in Toronto.

The Scarborough Subway Extension was originally supposed to be a seven stop LRT line with a proposed end date in 2015.

For Councillor Josh Matlow, Ford’s new three-stop subway extension will be finished in 2030, cost more money and leaves Scarborough residents without substantial transit for a longer period of time.

“Scarborough residents deserve rapid transit that serves people, rather than political interests,”Matlow said. “It should be based on a good business case. A seven-stop Scarborough LRT network makes sense. A three-stop Scarborough subway, which serves far fewer people, for a lot more money, does not.”

The Eglinton Crosstown West Extension is part of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, which has been under construction for 10 years with a now postponed end date sometime in 2022.

The construction has impacted local businesses in the area, with a reported 140 businesses closing since the start of construction.

On Monday, local businesses were said to be receiving $3 million “in support” from the provincial government due to the impact of construction.