Transit City: Buried
At the end of March 2011, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford agreed to a new plan for public transit in Toronto. The Province had allocated just over $8 billion dollars to fund Transit City, a plan that included Toronto’s a series of light rail lines around the city. Now, the province with spend $8.2 billion to put the Eglinton LRT line entirely underground. So, that’s it for Transit City.
Previously priced at $4.6 billion dollars, this announcement has pushed the Eglinton line from number four on our Top 100 list, to number one eclipsing massive energy projects including the Romaine hydroelectric project and the Lower Churchill hydro project to become the biggest project in Canada.
Besides the increased price tag for building a subway, this policy shift is going to cost the city millions for cancelling a number of contracts. Currently, this total is sitting at $49 million and is set to rise over the coming months.
Still up for debate is Mayor Ford’s plan to replace the now defunct Transit City plan with a new, subway-focused plan for Toronto transit. While Ford has suggested that he will ask the federal and provincial governments for some funding for the Sheppard subway, so far no money has been committed. There has also been talk of partially funding the project with private-sector money through the P3 model. If P3 Canada’s $1.2 billion fund survives a potentially new government, the City will likely apply for some help there.
Either way, it looks like expanded public transit in Toronto has been set back by another decade.