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"5 in 10":
Metrolinx proposes building parts of five priority projects in ten years

During a speech this morning at the Toronto Board of Trade, Metrolinx’ president and chief executive officer, Rob Prichard, outlined his agency’s plans to fund five priority transit projects — including some of Toronto’s Transit City light rail lines — over the next ten years.

The plan is similar to the scheme that the Toronto Star and other media reported on May 5, meaning that Metrolinx would only fund building part of the lines at least until after 2013. (In 2013, Metrolinx plans to develop an investment strategy that would encourage private agencies to contribute to building and operating some of these and other transit services.)

Metrolinx proposes building immediately:

  • the Sheppard East light rail line between Don Mills Station and Conlins Road; (Construction has already started on this line.)
  • the Eglinton - Crosstown light rail line between Jane Street and Kennedy Station; and
  • York Region’sViva bus rapid transit project along Highway 7, Yonge Street and Davis Drive.

It proposes postponing until 2015:

  • the Etobicoke - Finch West light rail line between the future Finch West Station (at Keele Street) and Humber College; and
  • the Scarborough rapid transit line (extending the line to Sheppard Avenue East and converting it to light rail transit.)

It is extending the time line to finish all projects by two years, so that the lines are operating in ten years, instead of eight years, as the Ontario Government originally announced.

It will finish:

  • the Sheppard East line by mid-2014, instead of mid-2013;
  • the Eglinton - Crosstown line by 2020, instead of mid-2018; (Metrolinx and the TTC will buy tunnel boring machines immediately and start work on this line later this year.)
  • the Viva lines by mid-2019, instead of the original plan of mid-2015;
  • the Etobicoke - Finch West line by mid-2019, instead of mid-2015; (Construction will start in mid-2015, instead of later this year.)
  • the Scarborough RT by 2020, instead of mid-2015; (Construction will start in mid-2015, instead of later this year.)

Metrolinx expects that its investment strategy may attract enough funding from private sources that it can improve the timelines and start to build the entire projects (Sheppard East to Morningside; Eglinton-Crosstown to Toronto Pearson International Airport; Etobicoke-Finch West to Finch and Don Mills Stations) earlier than it can plan right now.

Prichard has not discussed the other Transit City lines or other proposals for high-capacity transit services elsewhere in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area.

You can view his presentation here. (.pdf)