The federal government is kicking in $1 billion for two major transit projects in the GTA, including an effort to relieve congestion at one of Toronto’s most challenging public transit bottlenecks: Bloor-Yonge station.
Francois-Philippe Champagne, the federal minister of infrastructure and communities, stood alongside federal, provincial and civic politicians when announcing the funding at a press conference in Scarborough Monday morning.
The work at Bloor-Yonge station — “the busiest station, as we all know, in Toronto,” Champagne noted — will include a new platform for Line 2, and modifications to the platform for Line 1.
More than 200,000 passengers travel through Bloor-Yonge station each day with more expected as the GTA’s transit network grows. The station is over-crowded with commuters daily, particularly those that are headed south into the heart of the city’s financial district.
As many as 730,000 commuters use Line 1 on any given weekday, Coun. Jaye Robinson, chair of the TTC, told reporters. The money represents “critical investment in Toronto’s transit infrastructure,” she said.
“We need to expand immediately to accommodate future ridership,” she added.
City ‘determined’ to improve transit system, mayor says
Mayor John Tory said the GTA is projected to hit a population of some 10 million by the year 2041, and transit has so far not kept up with the pace of growth.
“I think we are all determined to make up for lost time,” he said.
The second project covered by the funding calls for six new SmartTrack stations along the existing Stouffville, Lakeshore East and Kitchener GO Transit rail corridors.
Laurie Scott, Ontario’s infrastructure minister, told reporters that “critical transit projects like these make a real difference in people’s lives, helping them spend less time commuting to work and home, getting them there safely, and giving them more time to do the things they love with the people they care about.”
The federal funds come from the federal government’s $180-billion, 12-year infrastructure plan.