The federal government is set to invest over $10 billion to help Ontario fund four major transit routes in Toronto, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday.
Trudeau called the agreement “historic” and said a total of $12 billion will go towards four subway projects in the Greater Toronto Area ($10.4 billion) and one rapid-transit project in Hamilton.
“If you live in the GTHA, even if you’re working from home right now, I don’t have to tell you what traffic is like. After a busy day of work, you want to spend time with your family, not hours commuting,” Trudeau said. “Not only that but heavy traffic also causes a lot of pollution.
“That’s why we’re working with Ontario to make improvements public transit that people in the GTHA can count on.”
Trudeau said the Ontario Line project in Toronto will bring rapid transit from Exhibition Place, through downtown, to the Ontario Science Centre.
“Anyone can tell you in Toronto that the subway is way too busy. Sometimes in rush hour, people have to wait for two or three trains to go by before they can even go on,” Trudeau continued. “This major investment will not only deal with that but also create thousands of good jobs and get gridlock traffic off the roads.”
The second project for the Greater Toronto Area is the Eglinton Crosstown West extension, which will create a continuous rapid transit line along Eglinton Avenue between Scarborough and Mississauga.
The third and fourth transit projects in the GTA are the Yonge Street North Subway extension and the Scarborough Subway extension.
“If you live in the north of the city, this means cutting your commute by almost a half an hour,” Trudeau said. “For people in Scabrorough who currently don’t have good transit options, this investment will mean three more stops along Line 2.”
The Ford government had been calling on the federal government to help with its transit plans for Toronto and the GTA for years. The province had been asking for the feds to cover at least 40 per cent of the budget.
“This isn’t about an election. This is about restarting our economy and creating jobs … this is about tackling climate change — emission from the transportation sector represents 20 per cent of Canada’s emissions,” she told reporters.
In addition, part of the funding will also go toward buying zero-transmission street cars.
“Transit expansion is critical to the future of our city,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said. “I want to thank the federal and provincial governments for working with us.”
Tory went on to say the funding announcement is “vital” and will help the City to come out of the pandemic “stronger and ready to prosper.”
Also announced was funding for an LRT in Hamilton.
Trudeau said the federal government will support a rapid-transit line that will go from McMaster University, through downtown, to Eastgate Centennial Park in Stoney Creek.
—With files from The Canadian Press