The Canadian government announced plans to invest $14.9 billion for public transit project over the next eight years. The plans include permanent funding of $3 billion per year for Canadian communities beginning in 2026-27.
According to a government news release, “This [commitment] provides cities and communities the predictable transit funding they need to plan for the future, and is part of our plan to create one million jobs, fight climate change, and rebuild a more sustainable and resilient economy.”
“When we invest in public transit infrastructure, we are supporting good middle class jobs, creating better commutes, fighting climate change, and helping make life easier and more affordable for Canadians,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “We will continue to do what it takes to ensure our economic recovery from COVID-19 and build back a more resilient country for everyone.”
Reaction from local municipal leaders was swift. “This is great news for Toronto and our transit system,” Toronto Mayor John Tory said. “Over the coming days and weeks, we expect that the details of this commitment will show the tremendous impact on Toronto transit that will be achieved with this investment. I am confident that Toronto will receive its fair share of funding from this initiative and that it will make a significant contribution to our economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19. Our share of this investment will mean transit expansion, transit vehicles and other system upgrades, jobs and a greener city.”
Markham mayor Frank Scarpitti stated, “This is a positive sign for the Yonge North Subway Extension, York Region’s top transit infrastructure project. It is one of the most studied and justified transit projects in the country and we cannot wait any longer to get shovels in the ground. By earmarking these infrastructure dollars, the federal government is confirming its commitment to making public transit investment a high priority.”
Ontario’s Transportation minister, Caroline Mulroney, announced that Ontario had selected five priority projects that it hoped the federal government would fund. Four of those projects are in Toronto, part of the transit expansion plan that Premier Doug Ford announced in April 2019. Those four projects include:
• Building the Ontario Line Subway between Don Mills Road / Eglinton Avenue East and Exhibition Place;
• Extending the TTC’s Line 2 Bloor – Danforth subway to McCowan Road / Sheppard Avenue East;
• Extending the Line 1 Yonge – University subway to Highway 7 / Yonge Street; and
• Extending the Line 5 Eglinton light rail transit line to Toronto Pearson International Airport.
In a surprise part of the announcement, Mulroney identified a light rail transit line in Hamilton as Ontario’s fifth priority project for federal funding. The Ontario government controversially cancelled the project in December, 2019 after previously committing $1 billion toward building the line.
The renewed support for the project may, however, result in a shorter line than Ontario and the City of Hamilton had earlier planned.