TTC CEO Andy Byford says he'd like to see shovels in the ground to build the downtown relief subway line (DRL) in the next 10 years and said Friday he is encouraged by a recent chat about the project he had with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Byford made the comments Friday after announcing the TTC's new customer charter for 2014. The charter includes a list of service benchmarks for the year, such as improving cleanliness at stations, more ways to buy tickets and more courteous service from TTC staff.
After the news conference, Byford spoke about an informal chat he had with Harper on Thursday at Downsview station.
Byford said the PM was "very interested" to hear about the benefits of the proposed DRL, which is designed to relieve pressure on the Yonge-University-Spadina line, which currently operates at capacity during rush hour.
"He was very understanding of the fact that Toronto only has one north-south subway line and he understood that there is a need to continue to invest in our subway network," said Byford.
Harper announced Thursday $14 billion for infrastructure funding across Canada. Byford said Friday he's aiming to get a chunk of that money for Toronto. Byford said he plans to lobby politicians of all stripes in both Ottawa and at Queen's Park.
"I don't mind where the money comes from," he said. "What I do know is Toronto needs more transit. And I intend to tap into some of that Building Canada fund."
Also on Friday, Metorlinx outlined a timeline to study ways to address crowding on the Yonge line. A new document outlines a consultation process that will come up with a short list of projects through consultations in 2014 with the TTC board and city council having their say in 2015.
There is currently no money budgeted to pay for the DRL, which comes with a price tag of more than $3 billion.