Harper says Ottawa will help extend Toronto’s subway system

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Ottawa will chip in to help Toronto expand its subway system further into the city’s east end, though it is not immediately known precisely how much money the government will be providing.

Federal government to support Toronto subway expansion further into Scarborough

Prime Minister Stephen Harper appeared with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on Sept. 22, 2013 to announce that the federal government would make a contribution to the Scarborough subway extension. Details of how much Ottawa will chip in are expected at a Monday morning news conference. (Mark Blinch/Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Ottawa will chip in to help Toronto expand its subway system further into the city’s east end, though it is not immediately known precisely how much money the government will be providing.

"I think this is good news for Toronto commuters, who obviously continue to face the challenges of gridlock," Harper said to reporters at the International Plaza Hotel near Toronto's main airport on Sunday afternoon.

The prime minister said the amount of financial help from Ottawa will be nailed down as the funding gets formally set aside.

Mayor Rob Ford heralded the formal announcement of the government’s support as "great news."

"This is exactly what the doctor ordered," Ford said.

The Prime Minister’s Office said that Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty had met with Ford "to discuss the Toronto Subway extension project."

During the discussion, Harper "expressed to Mayor Ford the Government of Canada’s firm commitment to invest in job creating transit projects, including support for the Council approved Scarborough extension, to reduce congestion and commute times, supports economic growth and improve the quality of life for commuters across the region."

Earlier this summer, Toronto City Council had voted in favour of extending the Bloor-Danforth line further into Scarborough, replacing a plan to build a light-rail line to replace the aging Scarborough RT.

The cost of extending the subway will be hundreds of millions more than the cost of the light-rail plan. And council had wanted to hear from the provincial and federal governments before the end of this month.

When council voted in favour of pursuing the subway option, Ford said he was confident that higher levels of government would contribute.

With files from The Canadian Press

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