Metrolinx set to endorse LRT plan for Toronto
In case there was any doubt that Mayor Rob Ford could somehow manage to derail plans for an LRT network in Toronto — you know, that project we used to call Transit City — a report released by Metrolinx today makes it clear that the provincial transit agency is on board with the wishes of city council.
Construction is set to begin on Sheppard Avenue East in 2014 and one year later on Finch Avenue West (the latter of these is sure to disappoint the Emery Village BIA), which puts the estimated completion times at 2018 and 2019, respectively. In keeping with the goal to complete all projects under the $8.4 billion funding umbrella in the next eight years, the replacement of the Scarborough RT (2019) and the opening of the Eglinton Crosstown are also scheduled by 2020.
If all of this sounds quite familiar, that's because it mirrors the first phase of the original Transit City plans — with the crucial exception being that the opening date on Sheppard has now been pushed back four years (all on account of Ford's first day proclamation that former Mayor David Miller's transit plans were "dead").
Other interesting tidbits from today's report (which is set for a vote tomorrow) is the fact that construction on Sheppard will begin in an election year, something which Ford will try to manipulate to his benefit (will such a strategy prove effective?) and that Metrolinx recommends seeking out P3 federal funding, which we know would piss off the TTC if it means that a private company would be significantly involved in the planning/construction of the projects at hand. In other words, the transit file probably has some controversy left in store for us yet.
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