Several major GTA transit projects have been sitting in limbo awaiting federal funding for so long that if you weren’t directly involved you might have forgotten they were ever announced.
Now everybody can all breathe a sigh of relief: an election is in the wind and Stephen Harper is going on a spending spree.
The biggest giftee is the $2 billion project that will extend the Spadina Subway up to York University and beyond into Vaughan, the proverbial “City Above Toronto.” It’s been years since the crazy idea was conceived and months since the provincial and municipal governments ponied-up their thirds of the funding. Since then they’ve been planning, making pretty drawings of stations and twiddling their thumbs, waiting on the feds to come through with the $700 million balance.
Construction on the subway could start by the summer, though it won’t be fully operational for about seven years. In the meantime, you can expect Vaughan to get more of the 40-storey condo tower proposals they’ve been seeing and, just maybe, the beginning of the end of suburbia as we know it.
Local mayors are darned happy to have the cash, but they’re still telling Harper that they need long-term funding (from the gas tax, perchance?) to actually develop a coherent transit system and other infrastructure.
Stéphane Dion has said that’s what he would do (more or less) so you know there’s an election a-comin’.
Other local plans getting the big bucks:
• York Region’s Viva system has been waiting forever for the cash needed to construct median right-of-ways for their busses. Now it’s finally happening.
• Missisauga is building a bus-only transitway along the 403.
• Brampton is implementing a program to improve bus service.
• $5 million to study rapid transit for Durham region.
• And, sorry transit lovers, an expansion of Highway 7 and an environmental assessment for extending Highway 407 eastwards..
Now all someone needs to do is tie it all together and figure out what exactly the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority does…