No Funds for Yonge North Subway Extension in Budget!

I am going to go out on a limb and say that yesterday’s provincial budget has nothing in it for the Yonge North subway extension. To be accurate, the budget had nothing specific about any particular project. The budget had $32.5 billion (with $5 billion coming through the province from the federal government) for infrastructure. There were no specifics on where this would be going in order to keep the focus on the harmonization of the Retail Sales Tax with the federal GST, which will not come into effect until July 2010.

It is expect that a significant piece of the $32.5 billion, possibly more than $10 billion, will go into transit projects, but it is expected that projects that apply for this funding will have to be completed by March 31, 2011. Of course, it is possible that the subway extension project could be broken up into smaller sub-projects, some of which could be completed by this deadline, but the race to do this could be a wasted effort as there are numerous other transit projects ready to go once funding is in place that will be in line as soon as the application process opens up in the next few weeks. The Sheppard East Transit City line has completed its EA process and is in a shovel ready state just waiting for cash to flow, and I understand that LRT plans in Hamilton are close to a similar state.

Let’s see what happens over the next few weeks as municipalities start jumping through the province’s bureaucratic hoops.

April 1 update: That limb is looking stronger every day! Today, the big announcement was for $9 billion in spending for transit that included such TTC projects as the Finch West LRT (going east to Don Mills and down to Sheppard),¬†an Eglinton-Crosstown line (not sure if this will be LRT or something else at this time) going all the way to the airport, and an “upgrade” of the Scarborough RT with an extension to either Sheppard and Markham (likely if the “upgrade” involves ART MARK-II technology) or the Malvern Town Centre (likely if the “upgrade” involves conversion to LRT). The announcement also included funding for VIVA BRT lane construction and an LRT study in Hamilton.

Still to be announced is the funding for the Sheppard LRT line and the contract for the replacement of the legacy streetcar fleet, both of which should be very soon and will use up more of the available infrastructure funds.

One Response to “No Funds for Yonge North Subway Extension in Budget!”

  1. Michael Forest Says:

    I think that they should fund DRL before funding Yonge North rail in any form.

    Even if Yonge North is implemented as a light rail line, it will add quite a bit to the peak-hour load of the already packed southern section of Yonge. If Yonge North is a subway extension, it will add even more load.

    Cal’s comment: This is one reason why I believe that a Downtown Relief Line is one subway project that is badly needed in Toronto. I would argue though, that if the money proposed for the Yonge North subway extension north of Steeles were used for light rail, the extra load would be comparable to a subway extension, not less than it. This is because while LRT might attract a few less riders over subway, at least initially, the same money builds more line and reaches closer to more people that will mean a similar, and perhaps even a greater increase in rider ship.