TTC receives C$568 million funding commitment for streetcar procurement

May 13, 2021
The federal, provincial and municipal funding will expand TTC’s Hillcrest storage facility, as well as go toward the purchase of 60 streetcars.

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) received commitments from the governments of Canada, Ontario and the city of Toronto totaling C$568 million (US$468.79 million) to purchase 60 zero-emission streetcars and expand its Toronto Hillcrest storage facility.

The funding consists of C$180 million (US$148.56 million) from Ontario, C$208 million (US$171.67 million) from Toronto and C$180 million (US$148.56 million) from the government of Canada, which is subject to Treasury Board approval.

The new streetcars will help TTC match capacity of customer demand and reallocate 50 buses to local bus routes that have been supplementing streetcar service.

"This landmark investment will allow the TTC to significantly expand our streetcar fleet and fund much-needed upgrades to the Hillcrest Complex,” said Toronto City Councilor and TTC Chair Jaye Robinson. “The streetcar network has kept the city of Toronto moving, day in and day out, through the darkest days of the pandemic and will continue to support our economic recovery in the weeks and months to come."

TTC will leverage its existing contract with Alstom to procure the streetcars, which will be made at the supplier’s Thunder Bay plant. Alstom acquired the plant when it completed its acquisition of Bombardier.

"Supporting the Toronto Transit Commission's purchase of 60 new electric streetcars for Toronto, built in Thunder Bay, is a win-win situation for Canadians. This project will not only protect good, middle-class jobs in Ontario, it will also help Toronto residents who rely on public transit to get around quickly, safely and reliably,” said Canada’s Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Catherine McKenna.

Union officials and other stakeholders have been sounding the alarm that the future of the Thunder Bay facility was not guaranteed. However, the streetcar order will protect hundreds of workers and potentially “create a bridge to longer term transit procurement projects” according to Infrastructure Canada.

Unifor, whose members in Local 1075 work at the Thunder Bay facility, called the news of the streetcars order to be made at the facility “a real game changer.”

“Today’s announcement is about vision, it’s about saying how we can do things when we put our collective minds together,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.

In addition to the streetcar order, the province noted Metrolinx is continuing discussions with Alstom under its existing contract for the refurbishment of GO bi-level cars at the Thunder Bay facility.

Streetcar delivery to the TTC will start in 2023.

This is the second significant development for transit in the Toronto region this week following news the Canadian government had committed to funding up to 40 percent of Ontario's four priority subway projects

Based on May 12, 2021, conversion rate of C$1 = US$0.83

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.