Toronto and Ontario reach agreement for transit expansion in the city

Oct. 18, 2019
The province will fund expansion projects, the city will be able to fund state of good repair efforts and TTC retains controls of its network operations.

An agreement between the city of Toronto and the government of Ontario has been reached that, pending approval from Toronto City Council, will see several transit expansion projects come to fruition, fund state of good repair work and Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC) network will remain under city ownership and operation.  

A report detailing the agreement will be considered by the council’s executive committee Oct. 23 and go before the Toronto City Council on Oct. 29.

"The detailed report released [Oct. 16] from our city and TTC staff professionals makes the case for why city council should pursue this plan, why it’s a good deal for Toronto residents, especially those who use transit and for the city's long-term finances," said Toronto Mayor John Tory. "It also explains clearly that the province has agreed to leave the existing subway system as part of the TTC - owned by the people of Toronto. This was a key requirement of council when we entered into these discussions."

City and TTC staff concluded in the report that the Ontario Line, a proposal by Ontario Premier Doug Ford that would replace the city proposed Relief Line, is viable and has merit. The determination was that the Ontario Line would provide relief to the existing subway system, as well as provide major transit improvements to more neighborhoods.

Under the agreement:

  • The city retains ownership of the existing subway network;
  • The TTC retains operations of the transit network;
  • The province funds and builds transit expansion projects and supports the city putting its expansion funds towards state of good repair and city priority projects such as the Eglinton East LRT and Waterfront Transit;
  • The province and the city agree to work together to get the Ontario Line, the Scarborough subway, Eglinton West LRT and Yonge North built as quickly as possible; and
  • The province will review and reimburse the city for reasonable costs incurred for the preliminary design and engineering of the Relief Line South and the Line 2 East Extension.

“This proposal will deliver both a major expansion of Toronto's subway network and much-needed improvements to the existing transit network,” said Ontario Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney. “The city of Toronto and the province of Ontario are on the cusp of pursuing one single unified plan for subway expansion in Toronto.”

Under the agreement, the province will provide C$28.5 billion (US$21.7 billion) for new transit in Toronto, while more than C$5 billion (US$3.81 billion) in city funding can go towards state of good repair of the existing transit system, as well as construct projects the city considers priority such as the Eglinton East LRT and Waterfront Transit lines.

“In April, our government unveiled a historic transit expansion plan for the people of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). For the first time ever, Ontario took the lead in making the single largest investment in new subway builds and extensions in our province's history,” said Premier of Ontario Doug Ford. “We committed to delivering a C$28.5-billion program of four key priority transit projects supported by all three levels of government, including the Yonge North Subway Extension, the Eglinton West Crosstown Extension, an improved three-stop Scarborough Subway Extension and the all-new Ontario Line. Our plan will get people moving and promote economic growth.”

He continued by saying he welcomed the announcement and looked forward to continued discussions with the city.

“With all three levels of government working together, I am confident we can bring our transit system into the 21st century,” said Premier Ford.

Toronto’s population is expected to swell by nearly 1 million residents by 2041 and the city and province have long been in discussion on how to best realign transit responsibilities.

Ontario Associate Minister of Transportation Kinga Surma called the agreement between the city and province an “unprecedented arrangement” that would support the delivery of key projects.

“We must end the culture of delay and start building the expanded and integrated transit network that the public and transit riders deserve,” said Surma.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.