Feds will invest up to $840M in Toronto public transit over next 3 years: Trudeau
Published Friday, May 6, 2016 6:41AM EDT Last Updated Friday, May 6, 2016 5:03PM EDT
Toronto will receive up to $840 million in federal funding for public transit over the next three years, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced.
The federal budget released in March established a $3.4 billion public transit infrastructure fund and on Friday Trudeau visited the Greenwood subway yard in the city’s east end and revealed that Toronto will receive up to $840 million of that investment with the money available to eligible projects “immediately.”
“The announcement today is to address the real needs that the TTC and other transit authorities need right now,” Trudeau said. “Investments in upgrades, in new signals and control systems, in the kinds of things that happen behind the scenes and too often get overlooked by politicians who want to make announcements.”
Trudeau said that the money that will be available to the TTC will likely be spent on upgrades and badly needed maintenance to existing infrastructure.
The hope, he said, is to ensure “that often delayed upgrades or investments in our existing transit systems are made right away.”
“Our desire is to get money flowing right away to the things that will make a real difference in people’s lives right now,” he said. “To be able to put more trains on the tracks, to be able to maybe increase the rhythm and pace of trains coming through, these are the sorts of things that that make a real impact in people’s lives and that we will be supporting.”
The $840 million in potential transit funding can be put towards up to 50 per cent of the cost of eligible projects, which is a higher proportion than the one-third funding that the federal government usually provides for infrastructure.
Speaking with reporters, Mayor John Tory said the investment is an “unprecedented commitment.”
“Toronto is finally receiving funding that acknowledges the unique pressures on our system and the vital role that it plays in the health and wellbeing of our city,” he said.
Tory said the funding will likely be put towards the cost of overhauling the aging signal system on Line 2, making more subway stations accessible by adding elevators and escalators as well as purchasing new buses for some of the city’s busiest routes.
“For our city to work and grow, our transit and transportation systems must work and must grow. I really do think this is one of the most important investments our federal government can make,” he said.
TTC chair Josh Colle told CP24 that the funding project will "impact daily riders" of the TTC.
"It's things like signal work and track work and even real nuts and bolts stuff like pumps and vents," said Colle. "They aren't sexy and you can't do a ribbon cutting for them but when they fail that's when you get a signal failure or have to sit on your train and wait."