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Toronto's capital budget highlights transit projects

At its meeting yesterday, Tuesday, December 11, Toronto City Council approved the City’s 2008 capital budget of $1.610 billion. This capital budget is part of a $8.355-billion five-year capital plan for 2008 until 2012.

Public transit and public transit infrastructure projects form a major component of the budget.

By approving the capital budget, City Council authorized staff to:

  • purchase 193 new buses for TTC conventional service and 50 new buses for Wheel-Trans service — The City will purchase a total of 908 new conventional buses by 2017 (a total cost of $166.03 million);
  • purchase 204 low-floor accessible light rail vehicles to replace streetcars currently operating on City streets and 21 additional cars — the supplier will deliver a prototype in 2010 ($54.99 million);
  • make “milestone payments” on 234 new subway cars (39 train sets) to replace cars currently operating in the subways — the new cars will increase the capacity of the subway by eight per cent ($79.4 million);
  • start to build a new Islington Station and an inter-regional bus terminal at Kipling Station — The TTC will share these costs with GO Transit and Mississauga Transit ($19.87 million);
  • start to build a bus rapid transitway (BRT) between Downsview Station and York University and continue to develop a BRT along Yonge Street between Finch Station and Steeles Avenue ($16.02 million);
  • make 13 more subway stations accessible ($10.91 million);
  • replace more than 32,000 double-track feet of surface streetcar rail on Bathurst, Dufferin, Church, Richmond, McCaul, Parliament and Wellington Streets ($20.42 million);
  • design state-of-the-art train control and signaling systems on the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line and upgrade safety, power and the communication system ($54.83 million);
  • finish the St. Clair West dedicated transitway ($32.98 million);
  • upgrade fire ventilation systems at three subway stations and continue second exit work ($19.0 million); and
  • start engineering, project management, construction and related activities on the Spadina Subway Extension ($56.8 million).

Other features of the capital budget include:

  • continuing to build the south access tunnel at Union Station ($3 million);
  • continuing to develop mixed-use, transit-friendly, sustainable waterfront communities in the East Bayfront and West Donlands ($55.13 million);
  • continuing to maintain 124 km of roads and rehabilitating 16 bridges and other structures ($112.5 million);
  • continuing to increase transportation service, safety and capacity by replacing streetcar track on St. Clair Avenue West and building the Simcoe Street underpass ($42.65 million);
  • finishing the Morningside Avenue / Finch Avenue East grade separation to improve safety and reduce traffic delays at the railway crossing ($18.74 million);
  • continuing a project to eliminate the Dufferin Street jog at Queen Street West, improving traffic flow and reducing congestion ($16.05 million);
  • developing bike trails along the former Canadian Pacific rail corridor, maintaining trails and pathways, and continuing to build 90 km of bikeways and various cycling infrastructure projects ($6.39 million); and
  • improving the City’s website to make it more user-friendly ($2.23 million).