Back On Track?
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Back On Track?

Once upon a time, governments worked together to create ambitious and expensive projects like, say, public transit. Then came the 1990s when funding was summarily cut off. Since then, we’ve seen funding restored in dribs and drabs, the half-implementation of several ideas (we’re looking at you, Sheppard subway!), and the odd difficult move forward (the St. Clair ROW). We’ve also seen the creation of the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority, but since no one seems to know exactly what they are doing or when they might be doing it, we won’t dwell on them.
And now with an election looming, here comes Dalton McGuinty with MoveOntario 2020—a ridiculously ambitious (and well-funded) plan. As the Globe and Mail reports, it’s something reminiscent of the Bill Davis era (none of us were old enough to notice, but it sounds like Ontari-ari-ario was pretty sweet back then).
Earlier today, the Premier ponied up $17.5 billion spread over 52 transit projects in the GTA and Hamilton.
A few of the highlights include:

  • That pipe dream LRT plan David Miller unveiled a few months ago? They’re giving him the $6 billion for that.
  • Extending the Yonge subway from Finch up to the Highway 7 transit hub (this makes us wonder why they are also funding the LRT from Finch to Steeles, but one thing at a time…).
  • Extending GO train lines and adding new routes linking to new rapid transit bus lines.
  • Full funding for the creation of bus-only lanes for York Region’s VIVA system.
  • Building the seemingly-legendary Pearson-Union rail link.

The province has been paying a third of the cost of recent projects, but is now willing to double that and asks the feds to chip in the rest. The government estimates that the plan will remove 300 million car trips and create 175,000 jobs, all of which might be some relief those who woke up to the news that Toronto is considering implementing highway tolls.
Construction would begin right after you re-elect the Liberals with everything in place by 2020. Now we’ll have to wait and see what John Tory and Howard Hampton have in their pockets…
Photo by arcticlamb from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.