Province to fund Eglinton LRT, but not Ford's subway
Transit City is set to be officially buried tomorrow when Mayor Rob Ford and Premier Dalton McGuinty join forces to announce a $12.4 billion transportation plan for Toronto, the highlights of which will be (a primarily underground) 20-km Eglinton Crosstown LRT and an extension to either side of the Sheppard Subway line. Notably absent from the new plan — as was expected — is the Finch West LRT.
The province will also pay for the replacement of the Scarborough RT with the LRT technology used on Eglinton (which will form the portion of the line that's above ground). That means the City is on the hook for the $4.2 billion dollars it's expected to cost to link the Sheppard line between Downsview and Yonge and to extend it from Don Mills to Scarborough Town Centre. How exactly these funds will be raised hat yet to be confirmed, though a private-public partnership involving tax-increment financing appears to be the leading candidate.
The Globe reports that TTC Chair Karen Stintz and City officials will apply for federal funding from a $1.2-billion Triple P infrastructure fund, which has to be filed by June. "We have to develop a business case demonstrating that we have revenue streams to pay back the private investment," Stintz told the paper.
So no big surprises here. The money provided by the province had already been set aside for Transit City, so their contribution marks a reallocation rather than a new investment. But the good news is that construction on Eglinton is expected to begin this year (with a completion date set for 2020).
It's also expected that Ford will announce the TTC's abandonment of its plans for an open fare system in favour of the Presto card, something I'm sure will just make Adam Giambrone's day. We'll have more after the official announcement.
Photo by Henry Roxas in the blogTO Flickr pool.
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