Toronto, ON – In 2018 Toronto was all set to proceed with the Downtown Relief Line from Pape Station to Queen Station, which would have been a huge benefit to commuters.
When Ford became Premier he closed down the shovel ready Relief Line and brought forward his own Ontario Line plan. It was one year ago, on July 25, 2019, that Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario released their Initial Business Case for the Ontario Line.
Premier Ford signed an agreement with the City of Toronto in the fall of 2019, which he has since ignored. There is still no guarantee that transit riders will be able to transfer between the Ontario Line and TTC on the same fare! And there is still no alternative for the above ground section in Toronto-Danforth.
Ford announced this new transit would be up and running by 2027, but now he no longer provides a date for completion.
The current schedule for the Ontario Line calls for a contract signing in the fall of 2023 for the northern leg, with actual work to start at a still unspecified date. No subway can be built and running from Pape Station to Eglinton and Don Mills by 2027 with the contract only signed in 2023.
“The Ontario Line has pushed back critical transit and is running late before contracts have even been issued,” said MPP Peter Tabuns. “Ford’s Bills 171 and 197 have set aside expropriation and zoning processes that protected the public and may well lead to huge controversy as he assembles land in some of the densest and most valuable parts of the city. His bills have also watered down environmental assessment and broken up the process, increasing the chance of substantial error and public damage.”
“He needs to come clean about the true costs, the real timeline and development deals. I’ve heard so many concerns from residents, especially about the proposed above ground tracks and the myriad of negative impacts,” said City Councillor Paula Fletcher. “City Council asked the Premier to also look at putting it underground, but Metrolinx has so far refused to do this.”
Councillor Fletcher and MPP Tabuns are working with local citizen groups East End Transit Alliance, Lakeshore East Community Advisory Committee and Pape Area Concerned Citizens for Transit to get transit built and built right.