WATCH ABOVE: Four new joint GO trains and SmartTrack stations are coming to the east end, which is the second transit pledge in as many days that the city will have to find money for by the end of the year. Mark McAllister reports.
The Ontario government and the City of Toronto have reached an agreement to fund $7 billion in transit projects, including funding for SmartTrack as well as light rail lines (LRT) on Eglinton West, Finch Avenue, Sheppard Avenue and the Eglinton Crosstown.
This past summer, the city manager was directed by council to negotiate an agreement with the province on a cost sharing plan for the projects between the two levels of government.
A staff report released on Monday details a split cost for Mayor John Tory‘s SmartTrack project with the province contributing $3.7 billion, which includes upgrading 11 existing GO stations and the cost of building new Regional Express Rail (RER) stations at Spadina-Fort York and Bloor-Lansdowne.
“This agreement means that after years of talk, indecision and delay, we are actually getting on with building the transit Toronto residents so badly need, through a partnership with the Province that will mean faster timelines and lower costs,” Mayor Tory said in a statement Monday morning.
The report states the cost for the municipal portion of SmartTrack will be approved once the federal government settles its finances for the project.
The city has a provincially-imposed deadline of Nov. 30 to finalize funding arrangements for SmartTrack.
“The agreement builds on the province’s significant investment into Toronto including $3.7B for GO RER that will be the foundation for SmartTrack,” Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca said in a statement. “This is on top of the Province’s investment of more than $10B for Toronto transit, including the Toronto LRT projects, Scarborough Subway and the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension.”
The province also agreed to pay for 85 per cent of the cost of five new separated rail crossings, which the report said will enable more trains to travel through the city.
The bi-level agreement includes a fully funded plan for the province to build and maintain new light rail transit lines on Finch Avenue and Sheppard Avenue.
The city will run the lines once they are built and will be responsible for day-to-day maintenance of any new LRT lines.
As for the Eglinton Crosstown, funding for operating and regular maintenance will be the city’s responsibility.
Mayor John Tory is scheduled to meet with Premier Kathleen Wynne on Tuesday to discuss the plan.
A special executive committee will be held on Tuesday to debate the cost of the transit project with the agreement being brought to city council for a final vote next month.
VIDEO: A comprehensive transit report pushed forward major transit projects in the city, including SmartTrack, the Scarborough subway extension and the downtown relief line. Peter Kim reports.