John Tory unveils plan for 52-km, above-ground relief line
Mayoral hopeful John Tory is vowing to create a 53-kilometre, above-ground rail line that would link Scarborough, downtown Toronto and Etobicoke within seven years, if he's elected in the city's upcoming municipal election.
Branding the plan as SmartTrack, the plan was revealed Tuesday at a news conference at the Canadian Club.
Tory, who has previously voiced his support for a downtown Yonge relief line, claims his line will be completed in less time. Existing plans for an underground Yonge relief lines would not be completed before 2031.
"It gets done faster, it uses existing facilities, it serves more of the city," Tory told reporters prior to a speech at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
Tory's plan also relies heavily on support from the provincial level, as more than 90 per cent of the new network would utilize existing GO Transit track.
The city would build 22 new stations along several GO lines, providing all-day service between Etobicoke, Scarborough, and downtown Toronto.
However, the GO track, which is operated by the Ontario government, would need to be electrified to run the multiple-car vehicles Tory's plan calls for. The plan to utilize electrified cars on GO tracks is similar to an earlier Regional Express Rail proposal from the provincial government.
Tory's campaign has estimated the plan’s cost at $8 billion, and would involve the city contributing one-third of the construction costs, to be paid for through increased tax revenue from development along new routes -- not property taxes. Remaining funding would come from the federal and provincial levels.
The plan has already attracted criticism from his mayoral rivals.
"We have recognized as a city that we need the downtown relief line moving forward. John, earlier in his campaign, acknowledged that as the priority, and now he is saying it is the wrong line at the wrong time," Karen Stintz told CP24.