Province backing away from subway upload: Tory

Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney says an agreement reached with City of Toronto negotiators, which still needs to get city council's approval, would allow for construction of an Ontario line, stretching from Ontario Place to the Ontario Science Centre, to provide relief to busy Line 1. The city would be agreeing to the province's Ontario line design, but would retain existing subway lines. Wednesday, October 16, 2019. Antonella Artuso / Toronto Sun

Share Adjust Comment Print

It’s all aboard for a new downtown Ontario Line and the Scarborough subway.

Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney and Toronto Mayor John Tory announced Wednesday that they have reached a tentative deal to proceed with both projects as envisioned by the provincial government — a three-stop, $5.5 billion Scarborough subway extension and a $10.9 billion Ontario Science Centre-to-Ontario Place downtown relief line.

Ontario taxpayers could be on the hook for up to $212 million in sunk costs already spent by the city, largely on developing a one-stop Scarborough subway and shorter relief line.

At the same time, the Ontario government is backing away from its plan to take over Toronto’s existing subway lines.

Mayor John Tory said the city never believed that it was a good idea to break up the TTC, and now finally the provincial government agrees.

“Last December, we were faced with a provincial government that was committed to uploading our entire subway system — they were prepared to break up the Toronto transit system and impose a split system that in my view, and in the view of the council, would not have worked for the average rider,” Tory said.

Tory said that the deal, which still needs to go before full city council for support, would leave ownership of the new subway lines in Ontario hands.


The city would be allowed to spend the funds it budgeted for transit expansion — more than $5 billion — on upgrades for existing systems and to pursue other parts of its own transit plan, he said.

Mulroney said the provincial government had promised to upload the new and existing subway system but now believes it can deliver on four priority projects quickly and efficiently by working with the city.

In addition to the Ontario Line and Scarborough subway, the province wants to extend the Yonge Line to Richmond Hill and the Eglinton Crosstown West deep into Etobicoke to link up to Pearson Airport.

“I think that people have been playing politics around transit in this city for a very long time,” Mulroney said.

“And today is a great day where the provincial government and the municipal government have come together with a proposal that the Mayor and city staff support… I think there’s an opportunity here to stop playing politics.”

The federal Liberals issued a statement saying they would support Toronto’s transit infrastructure priorities.

The federal Conservatives say they would pick up Ottawa’s share of the Ontario Line and the Yonge Street extension.

What’s Being Said

Ontario NDP MPP Jessica Bell: “We have some considerable concerns about the Ontario line. We do have a lot of unanswered questions about whether this will truly benefit commuters in Toronto.”

Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner: “It’s great that the city and province are no longer at loggerheads, but the Premier has some explaining to do. For over a year, he railed against Toronto, telling Ontarians that wrestling control of the TTC was the only way to get shovels in the ground. Now it looks like those threats were simply a ploy to pressure the city into endorsing Ford’s pet transit line.”

Ontario Premier Doug Ford: “I welcome today’s announcement from Mayor Tory and the City of Toronto to move forward with a new and ground-breaking partnership to transform transit in Toronto and get shovels in the ground as soon as possible on these critical projects. I also welcome commitments from federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer to fund their fair share of our subways program and work with the province and the city to get the Ontario Line built.”

Toronto City Councillor Joe Cressy: “In my 5 years at City Hall I’ve been through three different announcements of new transit deals. While there are certainly pros, cons, & unanswered questions today, let’s take the time to study the whole proposal before signing-off on yet another new transit plan.”

What’s Coming Down The Track

Ontario Line: Ontario Science Centre to Ontario Place, relieving pressure on Line 1, $10.9B budget, target completion date of 2027
Scarborough Subway Extension: extending Line 2 from Kennedy Station to McCowan Station, three stops, $5.5B budget, target completion date of 2029-30
Yonge North Subway Extension: extending Line 1 beyond Finch Station to Richmond Hill Centre, $5.6B budget, target completion date of 2029-30
Eglinton Crosstown West Extension: extending Eglinton Crosstown west along Eglinton Avenue to Renforth Drive, $4.7 billion budget, target completion date of 2030-31