TORONTO — Toronto will receive 70 new subway trains and up to $1.2 billion in operating support for subway, light-rail, and other transit projects, as part of a major deal between the city and the Province of Ontario announced on Monday.
The largest financial aspect of the agreement will see oversight and costs of maintaining two major highways — the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway — shifted from the city to the province. In return, the city agrees to a plan by provincial Premier Doug Ford for redevelopment of Ontario Place, a park and entertainment and events venue along the shore of Lake Ontario adjacent to downtown. Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow had opposed that plan.
In all, the Toronto Star reports, the deal will bring some C$9 billion to the cash-strapped city, although the $1.2 billion in operating support will only partially address the city’s $1.5 billion shortfall in 2024. Toronto is legally required to balance its budget annually. The Star reports that City Manager Paul Johnston said the expressways are the city’s largest capital expense and the shift in responsibility will have a “dramatic impact” on the city budget, allowing money to be redirected to “things that we’ve been unable to fund for years.”
Terms of the agreement call for 55 new subway trains for Line 2 of the Toronto Transit Commission subway network, contingent on federal matching funds. Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency, will purchase an additional 15 trainsets for two other subject projects — the Scarborough Subway Extension, and the Yonge North Subway Extension. The Scarborough project, slated to be complete in 2030, will replace the Scarborough RT line, closed earlier this year following a derailment of one of its trains [see “Toronto’s Scarborough RT line will not reopen …,” Trains News Wire, Aug. 24, 2023].
The operating support will go to the provincially owned Eglinton Crosstown and Finch West light rail transit systems. Also included is $300 million in one-time funding “to increase transit ridership, promote subway and transit safety, and secure sustainable operations.”
The deal also includes commitments by the city to advance the delivery of priority transit projects — including accelerating and streamlining city-led approvals for planning and construction — and prioritizing approval and finalization of transit-oriented developments. The full details of the agreement are available here.