The Federal government has finally taken a strategic leadership role in the construction of public transit in the GTA. Several weeks ago, Ottawa announced that it would cut a cheque for over $12 billion on key strategic transit projects in the GTA. This is the first time in living memory that Ottawa has contributed significant funding (we’re talking about multi billions) to a broad number of public transit projects in the GTA.
In Toronto over $10.4 billion will be allocated to the Ontario Line, the Scarborough Rapid Transit replacement, the Eglinton Crosstown LRT and the Yonge-North subway extension. This funding will cover about 40 percent of each project and guarantees construction will start soon and that provincial and municipal bodies will fully commit themselves to accelerate work. In Hamilton, almost $2 billion in federal money will go toward building the long debated LRT in the downtown core. The federal funding puts to a complete end the debate over an LRT or BRT in Hamilton, which had raged for over a decade. The Hamilton LRT will spur an increase in density and a more cohesive and communal downtown core which is dominated by bus and car traffic.
None of these transit lines will be done soon, tunnelling hasn’t even begun, and given how slow we are at actually building transit, it’s likely these projects will take 10 years to get done. Governments are using 2029 as the completion date for all of the Toronto transit projects. Either way, the projects in Toronto encompass and back up Premier Doug Ford’s GTA transit expansion plan, including the province’s bold Ontario Line, which is said to be the largest subway expansion in Canadian history, as well as the Eglinton Crosstown West LRT, and the Scarborough and Yonge North subway extensions. The Ontario PCs have estimated the cost of those projects at $28.5 billion.