scarborough subway extension

Ontario to begin work on building the controversial Scarborough subway extension

There have been quite a few contentious proposals for massive transit projects in and around Toronto during Premier Doug Ford's tenure, and it looks like one of them is going to actually be coming to fruition in the near future.

Ford announced today that the province is one step closer to breaking ground on the Scarborough subway extension, which has been a discussion point for residents and politicians alike for years.

"After years of work, we're finally making huge progress," Ford said at his daily presser today. "People of Scarborough, you've been waiting for over 30 years for subways. The crowding and the congestion on the Scarborough RT is a disaster and we're going to fix it."

By Thursday, the province will issue a Request For Proposal to ask the three potential tunnelling teams to finalize their design and delivery plans for the $5.5 billion line. A formal contract for the work is expected in less than a year, by mid-2021.

The three-stop extension, which will run from Kennedy Station to Sheppard and McCowan, is expected to create and support thousands of jobs during construction, and the government projects it will carry upwards of 100,000 daily commuters within 20 years' time.

Officials have flip-flopped back and forth about the specifics of the line over the past decade, and it has had its fair share of delays, changes, and controversy, which has made for a bit of a mess and made residents question what would come of it.

Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was a big advocate for its construction, as is current mayor John Tory, who thanked Doug Ford for pushing ahead on the project today.

"The public has been clear that they want more transit now. As we continue to fight COVID-19, we must not lose focus on the need to expand transit for residents across our city — we have to get on with delivering that transit," he said in a statement on Tuesday.

"This is a welcome next step that will make sure we have shovels in the ground as soon as possible to get this long-awaited project completed."

Between the various transit projects planned and underway — including four new lines like the Eglinton Crosstown LRT — the province has come up with a staggering $28.5 billion subway plan, which Ford says is one of the biggest in North America.

The premier is continuing to push for further funding from the federal government to get all of them to completion, while his newly-implemented Building Transit Faster Act will allow him to expedite timelines for these lines by bypassing environmental studies and other usual precursors to construction.

Lead photo by

Nicoli Oz Mathews

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