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‘Not sexy,’ but needed: Funding for TTC repair, improvement projects unveiled

Click to play video 'TTC asks federal government for initial $500M transit investment' TTC asks federal government for initial $500M transit investment
WATCH ABOVE: Justin Trudeau has earmarked money for transit infrastructure after the TTC presented its wish list. Mark McAllister reports – Aug 23, 2016

The federal government has announced almost $475 million in funding for a preliminary list of projects aimed at planning the TTC’s future expansion and addressing the transit system’s massive backlog of needed repairs and improvements.

The details were revealed at a press conference Tuesday as a part of the government’s $1.49 billion transit investment in Ontario.

A bulk of the money will go to the TTC, while the rest will go toward cycling infrastructure, pedestrian safety, transit planning and design work.

READ MORE: Justin Trudeau announces $1.49B for public transit funding in Ontario

Mayor John Tory, who appeared alongside federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau, said the announcement was essential to fixing outdated equipment and facilities and acknowledged more needs to be done.

“We’re not going to get everything done that we would want to get done on this file or on housing for that matter,” Tory said. “But these are very significant steps forward for the City of Toronto.”

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TTC chair Josh Colle said the projects on the list are either currently underway, about to begin or will start soon.

READ MORE: Toronto to receive $840M of federal funding to improve public transit

“It’s elevators, escalators, Wheel-Trans buses, retrofitting buses, ordering new low-floor buses, doing track work, pumps, fire ventilation – things that are not sexy and don’t have the ribbon cutting,” Colle said.

“But those are the items that impact our reliability and that’s what our passengers care about.”

Colle said the projects can begin in a matter of weeks or months and is confident there won’t be any problems obtaining approvals once the final list is revealed in the fall.

Tuesday’s news conference follows a May announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the TTC’s Greenwood Subway Yard where he announced up to $840 million to pay for 50 per cent of eligible Toronto projects.

Here are some of the TTC projects included in Tuesday’s announcement:
$41,465,000 to rebuild buses
$23,032,500 to replace surface tracks
$14,097,500 to fix subway tracks
$12,955,000 to overhaul 40 articulated streetcars
$5,534,500 to over subway station escalators