With $200 million already spent, Doug Ford is still interested in changing Toronto transit plans

The provincial government is prepared to fund major transit projects in Toronto — including a three stop Scarborough subway extension, Eglinton West extension, Relief Line South and Yonge subway extension to Richmond Hill — but only if it has control over them.

This is according a letter sent to TTC Chief Executive Officer Rick Leary and City Manager, dated March 22, and a follow-up letter dated March 26. The letters outlined some large differences between the city and province when it comes to major transit projects:

  • City Council has proposed a one-stop extension of the Bloor-Danforth line to Scarborough Town Centre, while the province wants a three-stop extension with the same terminus — but in the second letter they seemingly changed their minds, stating that "the project would proceed northward from the station at Scarborough Centre”

  • While the Eglinton West expansion has been proposed as a surface-running route, the province would prefer for it to be underground

  • The province wants to use “alternative delivery methods” for the Relief Line South, which would “not beholden to the requirements of the technologically-outdated Line 2”

  • While Metrolinx says that the Relief Line has to be built before the Line 1 extension to Richmond Hill, the province wants the projects to progress in parallel

Now we know that, according to new information from the Toronto Star, approximately $200 million has been paid towards major transit projects in Toronto since 2008, including:

  • $21.8 million on stage one of the relief line

  • $182.5 on the Scarborough Line 2 extension, including $47.4 to extend the life of the RT system

  • $8 million on the Yonge North extension

  • $2.1 million on the Eglinton West LRT extension

It’s unclear whether Toronto will seek out compensation as part of the subway upload for the work already done to advance these projects, but the PC government is adamant on uploading the subway nonetheless.

“As you know, in recognition of the strategic importance of the TTC subway system, our government has committed to assuming responsibility for subway infrastructure from the City of Toronto, including the building and maintenance of new and existing subway lines, and keeping responsibility for day-to-day operations, including labour relations, with the city,” Doug Ford said in an email statement.

He continued by reiterating that uploading the TTC will “generate several benefits to public transit riders and residents” and continued by explaining that it will allow for “expedited delivery of priority regional transit projects and an enhanced ability to implement key policy initiatives to support a more efficient regional transit network (like through fare and service integration).”

Though Ford is set on taking over the subway, Toronto City Council isn’t — it voted 23-2 in December to keep the TTC’s subways, buses and streetcars under local control — and there’s no evidence that anybody has changed their mind. Ford might have to put up a fight to get what he wants.

📸: Max Pixel