The federal government will contribute $660 million to help extend Toronto’s Bloor-Danforth subway line in the east-end neighbourhood of Scarborough, federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced Monday morning.
“You have our money, let’s get this subway built,” Flaherty said.
Flaherty says the money is a "done deal" and comes at the request of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and city council.
Ford applauded the funding pledge, saying it would lead to an improved subway that would benefit residents throughout the Greater Toronto Area and is what Toronto residents want.
“We have brought all three levels of government together on this historic project,” said Ford. “Together we are building transit that will last well over 100 years.”
Flaherty also reconfirmed $330 million in federal funding for the Sheppard expansion project, for a total funding commitment for Toronto transit of about $1 billion.
“I think this is great for the citizens of Toronto and the folks of Scarborough and the region,” said Coun. Doug Ford, the mayor’s brother, following the announcement by the finance minister.
A map at Flaherty's announcement shows a proposed three-stop subway that would extend the Bloor-Danforth subway line from Kennedy station up to Sheppard. That would be longer than the two-stop plan announced by the province earlier this month.
The money will help fill a funding gap for the project that has existed since the summer, when city council opted to switch from a fully-funded light-rail line along the route to the more expensive subway option.
Several members of Toronto City Council called on the province to get behind the plan, which councillors approved and which now has the backing of the federal government.
Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said he was "delighted" to hear the announcement from the federal government.
Coun. Glenn De Baeremaeker, who represents Ward 38 Scarborough Centre, said the city shouldn’t stop with the new Scarborough extension, but should also look to other, future transit improvements.
"It has to be a lifelong building exercise," he said.
Province helped spur Ottawa, Wynne says
Premier Kathleen Wynne said earlier Monday that she didn't think the federal government would have come to the table if the province hadn't made its $1.4-billion commitment.
But she said the "disconcerting part" is that the federal money isn't part of a broader transit strategy.
"I hope what it leads to is that the federal government will now be able to take part in a systematic discussion of building transit in this region," Wynne said.
While the premier welcomed the support of the federal government in building transit in Toronto, Wynne said she didn’t want to see a similar process unfold in future.
"I have said repeatedly that this line has been contentious and certainly this is not the way that I would like us to do our planning going forward," said Wynne.
The subway plan will go to Toronto City Council at the end of the month.