Ontario wants to extend Toronto's subway system to Pearson Airport
Getting to Pearson International Airport from pretty much anywhere in Toronto could one day be far easier and cheaper than it is now, should Ontario's provincial government fulfill the promises of its freshly-announced $28.5 billion transit expansion plan.
Premier Doug Ford revealed during a press conference in Etobicoke the four-part rapid transit project plan includes building a three-stop subway extension in Scarborough, bringing Line 1 north to Richmond Hill and scrapping the city's planned downtown relief line for one that's twice as long.
It also designates $4.7 billion to the construction of an Eglinton Crosstown West Extension with direct access to Pearson by 2031.
Neither Ford nor any of his ministers made mention of the existing UP Express train between downtown Toronto and the international airport.
We are building a transit network for the 21st century. Today we announced four rapid transit projects:— Doug Ford (@fordnation) April 10, 2019
🚇Scarborough Subway Extension
🚇Yonge North Subway Extension
🚇Eglinton Crosstown West Extension
🚇All-new Ontario Line
This is our plan — our priority to get you moving. pic.twitter.com/DJKJ82kPYk
The majority of this new line— which would be an extension of the already partially-built Eglinton Crosstown LRT— would be built "underground, where it belongs," according to Ford.
"We will not be ripping up some of the busiest streets in Toronto to build a surface rail along Eglinton," taking an obvious dig at problems caused by construction on the existing LRT project.
Ford said the province is also currently working with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority and other stakeholders to "bring the subway right into the airport."
This would benefit travellers, to be sure, but also the many people who live and work near the airport, which Ford described as "the second largest employment centre in the entire country."
No further details about the airport extension were provided, though Ford did speak once again to his government's intentions of taking over responsibility for TTC subway infrastructure from the city.
I know everyone's freaking out about Ontario Place--I actually want more transit to the waterfront but was hoping for a skytrain connecting OP and the ferry terminal--but is there any reason to spend billions on a subway extension to the airport when we already have UP Express? https://t.co/hvoBU1cejh— Joshua Ostroff (@joshuaostroff) April 10, 2019
"The TTC is a critical service not just to people in Toronto but the people across the province," said Ford. "And we all know what the city can and can't do… that's why we're working with them to upload the subway infrastruture."
Toronto Mayor John Tory, who was not present at this morning's provincial announcement, has yet to publicly respond to the Ford government's transit vision — though some on City Council have, and not in a favourable way.
"Announcing new transit is easy; actually building transit is hard," tweeted Councillor Joe Cressy, who has been vocal in his opposition of the province's subway upload plan.
"Doug Ford has a proven record of making transit announcements and building nothing. Today's announcement amounts to nothing more than yet another fancy transit map and further delays in building transit in Toronto."
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