In an effort to “get Ontarians moving,” Doug Ford has announced that he’s scrapping Relief Line plans in favour of a new $10.9-billion transit project. The plan will see a new subway line run from west of downtown at Ontario Place/Exhibition all the way to the Ontario Science Centre in North York.
The project has been appropriately dubbed the “Ontario Line,” and will include connections from Osgoode to Pape Station, which was part of the city’s original Downtown Relief Line plans. The goal of the new subway line remains the same: to reduce overcrowding and stoppages on the TTC.
It’s a historic day in Ontario! I am so pleased to unveil our transit vision — a plan for the 21st century!
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) April 10, 2019
“We know that the congestion on Line 1 is a disaster,” the Ontario Premier told reporters Wednesday morning, according to BlogTO. “Commuters are sandwiched, shoulder-to-shoulder on the platform at Bloor Station with over-capacity trains speeding by. It’s a clear health and safety problem, and without action it is only going to get worse.”
The PC government claims the Ontario Line can be built quicker than the Relief Line by two years, with a projected completion date of 2027. This is a bold claim considering the new subway project is double the length of the Relief Line at 15 km.
But what makes the Ontario Line truly unique is that it will use smaller trains that could potentially be driverless, CBC reports. There’s also potential for this line to have elevated tracks over certain parts of the route.
The Ontario Line is just one of the PC government’s priority transit projects. The other three include the Scarborough subway extension, the Yonge extension to Richmond Hill, and the Eglinton West extension. Together, all four projects will cost a whopping total of $26.7 billion.
On Wednesday afternoon, Mayor John Tory responded to the Ford government’s new transit announcement. While Tory said he agrees that there is a need for transit to Ontario Place, he said he still has questions about how the PC government will use technology to speed up the process of building the new line, Daily Hive reports.
Ford’s subway plans were announced just one day after the city released their own four priority projects: the Relief Line South, the Line 2 East Extension, the SmartTrack Stations Program, and the Bloor-Yonge Capacity Improvement.
#CityofTO Executive Committee today approved a staff report recommending $4.896 billion in federal funding be allocated to four key #transit projects, news release: https://t.co/xmd8X8sWxz pic.twitter.com/4VAQcHOd39
— City of Toronto (@cityoftoronto) April 9, 2019
That same day, a staff report recommending $4.896 billion in federal funding be allocated to these projects was approved by the City of Toronto’s Executive Committee.