TORONTO — Ontario PC Leader Doug Ford today shared his plan to get Ontario moving by investing in new transit projects across the province.
“People are fed up with being stuck in traffic for hours or being crammed like sardines into sweaty overcrowded subways, busses and streetcars,” said Ford, “they are also fed up with a planning process that treats some communities and some neighbourhoods like second class citizens. After June 7th, I can promise that is going to change.”
Ford announced that, under an Ontario PC Government, the province will upload responsibility for the TTC’s subway infrastructure, including the building and maintenance of new subway lines, from the City of Toronto to the Province. The City will continue to be responsible for the subway’s day-to-day operations, including labour relations with the City of Toronto, along with a guarantee that the City will continue to keep all revenue generated by the subway system. Ford also highlighted that the Sheppard Loop and building the Relief Line and Yonge Extension would be his priority projects.
“Too many special interests are making even the simplest investments outrageously expensive,” said Ford, while highlighting that his government would also prioritize building underground, “it is time the Province stepped up and treated the subway like the vital service it is.”
Ford committed to supporting two-way all-day GO Service that will include the Niagara GO Expansion. He also committed to investing in Phase 2 of the Ottawa LRT along with regional transit priorities in Mississauga, Brampton, Hamilton, London and Kitchener-Waterloo.
“All of these investments will be included as part of our costed, responsible and affordable plan,” Ford concluded. “It’s time to stop playing the blame game and instead start rolling up our sleeves and getting to work. My message to anyone frustrated by Ontario’s transit crisis is that change is coming and help is on the way.”
- Attempts to build subway infrastructure face considerable setbacks at the city and provincial levels of government. Development of the Scarborough Subway Extension (SSE) has dragged on for years with no ‘shovels in the ground’ despite the fact that Toronto council voted in favour of this project 9 separate times.
- The province has not upheld its end of the bargain either, flip flopping on the Scarborough subway commitment during the 2013 by-election in Scarborough-Guildwood and failing to commit necessary funding for the cost overruns associated with the project.
- Another example of a lack of political leadership on subway construction is the potential Sheppard subway extension from Don Mills station that could close the loop with the Scarborough Town Centre.
- Discussions on the Sheppard subway extension were held, abandoned in favour of an LRT and, seemingly, abandoned once and for all since the federal government pulled funding from this transit option due to delays with utilizing the allocated money
- The Eglinton Crosstown is currently being built across the city. There will be two additional expansions to this project: Westward expansion to Pearson International Airport, and eastward expansion to the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus.
- However, future expansions of the Eglinton Crosstown should be built underground to help reduce congestion once construction is completed.
- The city had also identified additional subway projects it would like to pursue, including the Relief Line and the Yonge Subway Extension to Richmond Hill.
- Yet, the combination of insufficient capital, antiquated municipal accounting rules, and a lack of clear direction from the provincial government, means that the city and province will wait many years for these projects, and others, to get moving and built sensibly.
- The province has also promised two-way, all-day GO train service but, due to bureaucratic delays and red tape, the province commonly pushes back the target operation dates for these services.
How We Will Fix It:
- A Doug Ford led-Ontario PC Government will upload the subway infrastructure from the TTC, while ensuring the City of Toronto remains responsible for the day-to-day operations and retains the revenue generated by the subway.
- The Ontario PCs will also commit an additional $5 billion in new subway funding. This will add to the roughly $9 billion already available to build new transit projects in Toronto.
- Assuming provincial responsibility for the TTC subway system will enable the province to leverage its balance sheet in ways not available to municipalities. Given that the province can amortize subway investments over the life of the asset, we will be able to utilize the province’s balance sheet to get more subway projects completed faster.
- Under a Doug Ford Government, several transit projects will also be granted priority consideration for future construction, including: the Sheppard subway to close the loop with the Scarborough Subway Extension, the Relief Line and the Yonge Extension.
- Doug Ford and the Ontario PCs also commit to province-wide funding of transit, which includes improvements to regional GO train services and LRT projects.
- We will cut the red tape and end the delays to ensure that transit projects get completed on time and on budget.
- While the Eglinton Crosstown expansions must be built, a Doug Ford Government will build the Eglinton West and Eglinton East expansions underground, where feasible.
- A Doug Ford-led Ontario PC Government commits to delivering two-way, all-day GO service expansions to Bowmanville ($450M), St. Catharines, Niagara, and Kitchener.
- Regional transit projects in urban centres will also be funded and supported under a Doug Ford Government. This includes current transit projects, such as the Ottawa LRT – Phase 2 ($3.6B); Hamilton transit ($1B), Hurontario LRT ($1.4B), Kitchener-Waterloo LRT ($325M), and London transit ($170M). All these projects will move forward.