The Ontario government won't back Toronto's new OneCity transit proposal, says the provincial minister of transportation and infrastructure.
Bob Chiarelli said Friday that the province would not support TTC Chair Karen Stintz's plan, which Mayor Rob Ford publicly slammed Wednesday. Chiarelli said that the idea would require legislative changes and that the congested city can't afford any further delays.
On Wednesday, Ford dismissed a $30-billion transit plan proposed by Stintz, arguing it will cost taxpayers too much money.
Stintz's plan included the construction of six subway lines, 10 light-rail lines and five buses and streetcar lines over 30 years to transform the TTC.
OneCity, as the plan is called, would be funded by financial aid from the provincial and federal governments as well as an increase in municipal property taxes.
Chiarelli said OneCity will lead to delays from the light rail transit plan passed by Toronto council in March 2012.
"OneCity is not implementable in the near time frame," he said. "It requires a lot of work, a lot of decisions, a lot of debate."
Stintz appeared undaunted by the provincial snub, saying that transit is bigger than the four approved light-rail lines.
"What we're talking about in July is whether or not there's the will of council to continue studying a larger transit plan that serves every corner of the city and a funding model that supports that plan," she said.
Moving forward on council's LRT plan
Chiarelli said the existing plan — also brought forward by Stintz — would deliver the largest transit expansion in Toronto's history and create 80,000 jobs.
"Our government's public transit investment will keep commuters moving across the city of Toronto and provide an easy connection to subways, buses and the GO Transit network," Chiarelli said.
"Our focus is on getting shovels in the ground and delivering much-needed public transit projects for the residents of Toronto."
The province announced that the Eglinton Crosstown LRT from Black Creek to Kennedy Station is already underway and is set to be complete by 2020.
Work on the Scarborough Rapid Transit replacement and extension to Sheppard Avenue as well as the Finch West LRT from the Toronto-York-Spadina subway extension to Humber College is also expected to be completed by 2020.
Construction on the Sheppard East LRT from Don Mills station to east of Morningside Avenue will begin in 2017 and be completed by 2021.
Chiarelli said it wasn't acceptable that the OneCity plan includes a proposal to turn the already approved Scarborough LRT replacement into a subway.
"That train has left the station and we are proceeding with the plan as it is," he said.
Ontario — through the provincial Crown agency Metrolinx — will own all four LRT lines.
"We are committed to building these projects and ensuring that they meet the transit needs of Toronto residents and the broader region," said Bruce McCuaig, president and CEO of Metrolinx.
The Ontario government has thus far committed $8.4 billion toward the current plan.