Ford Government Introduces Legislation to Speed Up Major Transit Projects

Building Transit Faster Act
Crews 32 metres below roadway at Eglinton Crosstown

Canada’s largest city is no stranger to major infrastructure and development projects that often come with their own delays.

These projects, which include the all-new Ontario Line, the Yonge North Subway Extension, the three-stop Scarborough Subway Extension, and the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, have been in the works for what feels like… well, forever. And many still have a long way to go.

The above examples are reasons the Ford government is using to propose new legislation that would give the province the ability to deliver its four priority projects on-time and on-budget.

“In order to keep up with the tremendous growth in the region, we have to build modern, efficient rapid transit,” said Minister of Transportation, Caroline Mulroney, in a statement. “It will not only generate years of employment, it will allow us to better connect a world-class city and develop transit-oriented communities.”

READ: Completion Date for Eglinton Crosstown LRT Pushed Back

The government claims that the Building Transit Faster Act would provide the province with the tools it needs to expedite the planning, design, and construction process that has delayed major projects in the past.

If passed, the legislation would remove roadblocks and give the Province the ability needed to deliver projects faster by:

  • Relocating utilities more efficiently while treating businesses fairly, and ensuring costs are not passed on to consumers;
  • Ensuring the assembly of land required to construct stations, conduct tunnelling and prepare sites, while treating property owners fairly;
  • Ensuring timely access to municipal services and rights-of-way;
  • Allowing Ontario to inspect and remove physical barriers with appropriate notification to property owners;
  • Ensuring nearby developments or construction projects are coordinated so they do not delay the four priority subway projects.

“Not only will this proposed legislation get people riding the trains earlier, but it will ensure that the province is best positioned to attract new business and keep our best and brightest here in Ontario,” said Kinga Surma, Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA) in a statement.

This news comes just a day after Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster announced the completion date for the Eglinton Crosstown LRT project has been delayed yet again. The project was slated to be completed in September 2021 and now Verster says it’s expected that the LRT will open well into 2022.

Verster said a number of challenges have arisen since the start of the project, including starting nine months late and a defect found under the TTC station box at Eglinton-Yonge subway station that needs to be fixed before the project can be completed.

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